The federal government on Saturday quelled rumours that it was reviewing its decision to call in the army to secure the federal capital for the next three months. “The government is not reviewing its decision of invoking Article 245 of the Constitution,” a Prime Minister’s Office spokesperson said when asked for confirmation.
However, the government is considering contacting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in order to convince the party to change its ‘Azadi March’ plans, sources said. A special committee would be constituted and tasked to convince the PTI to change its plans, they added.
When asked to confirm, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid told The Express Tribune, “We will interact with PTI lawmakers during the upcoming session of the National Assembly and ask them to express their grievances on the floor of the house instead of marching on the roads.”
President Mamnoon Hussain has already summoned a session of the lower house on August 4 and a Senate session on August 8.
The PTI is planning to stage ‘Azadi March’ in Islamabad on August 14 in protest against alleged rigging in the May 2013 elections. Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) has also threatened to topple the government and bring about a ‘green revolution’.
“The army had been requisitioned by the ICT under Article 245 of the Constitution, read with Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, to pre-empt any possible blowback of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The army will be used for rapid response, patrolling and checking for a period of 90 days,” a government spokesperson said on Friday.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2014.