As opposition parties gear up for their protest rallies against the government, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his top aides met in the popular hill resort of Murree on Saturday to brainstorm a strategy for tackling the political challenge.
Government sources said that the Murree huddle focused on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) upcoming ‘Azadi March’ and protest rallies planned by the Pakistan Awami Tehreek and Jamaat-e-Islami.
The meeting decided that these rallies would be be dealt with ‘politically’. The government would not resort to the use of force, nor will it place the opposition leaders under house arrest, according to the sources.
At the same time, the meeting decided that no one would be allowed to take the law into their own hands. And any act of vandalism will be dealt by security and law-enforcement agencies, sources said. The meeting also discussed the government’s response if PTI lawmakers decide to resign from the assemblies.
When contacted, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s House confirmed the Murree meeting. Several political issues came under discussion, he said when asked for details.
Attendees at the meeting included Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Abbasi.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2014.