Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq on Friday reiterated the government’s decision to amicably resolve contentious issues with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). Addressing the media outside the Parliament House, he said it was imperative to avoid confrontation at a time when the armed forces are embroiled in a military operation in North Waziristan.
The minister requested the PTI to postpone the Azadi March. “The situation is serious and country cannot afford confrontation. It would be better for Pakistan and democracy if we resolved our issues with PTI through dialogue,” he said.
While political parties have the right to hold rallies, Imran should not divide the nation by turning the Independence Day into a day of protest, he said. Issues cannot be solved through protests and sit-ins. Instead the government has devised a mechanism to solve the issue of rigging once and for all. He asked the PTI to wait for two more months or until the military operation in Waziristan was over to have their grievances addressed.
The minister said the government was ready to grant permission to the PTI to hold Azadi March if it guarantees that the march would be peaceful. The government will not allow anyone to destroy the public property or hurt people, he added.
The minister said Pakistani nation will celebrate August 14 with fervour and hoped people would not be part of a long march that will produce anarchy.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2014.