ISLAMABAD: Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif, while addressing a National Assembly session, announced that the government is ready to register a first information report (FIR) against those being held responsible in the Model Town incident.
Asif said the FIR will be registered against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and some members of the federal and provincial cabinets.
The registration of an FIR in the Model Town killings was one of Qadri's two preliminary demands. The other was the resignation of Shahbaz Sharif. Qadri had said that if the government accepts these two requirements he would be willing to extend the deadline for his other demands.
Asif said today that this move should not be viewed as a weakness of the government, adding that any unconstitutional demands would not be accepted, Express News reported.
"We still have the option to file an intra-court appeal as well as an appeal with the Supreme Court. Instead, we are surrendering and going to register an FIR," Asif stated.
Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah and Pakistan Peoples Party’s Syed Naveed Qamar welcomed the government’s initiative and asked Tahirul Qadri to reconsider his "politics of deadlines" and give a siege of relief to people.
Khawaja Asif said that the prime minister has no power to dissolve assembly or take any illegal or unconstitutional step. “We will not let these traders of dead bodies [Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri] who want bloodshed to achieve their vested interests. This house [National Assembly] will remain the supreme forum for running all affairs and this house cannot be dictated by a crowd of a few thousands.”
In an attempt to ensure the courts' independence, the minister said, "It has also been proven wrong that courts are under the influence of the government, as the sessions court and the Lahore High Court have both rendered judgments against us."
Asif maintained that the government will sacrifice anything to uphold democracy and the Constitution.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Asif, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique declared that the process for registering the Model Town FIR is already underway.
Rafique remarked that to placate Qadri, they are willing to lodge an FIR against themselves.
"Not just this, but we are also willing to let an impartial and well-reputed officer investigate the incident," Rafique stated, appealing to Qadri to send the protesters in Islamabad home in a peaceful manner.
He told Qadri to free the “nerve centre of Pakistan”, asking him to preach messages of peace to his supporters and refrain from riling them up further.
Rafique stated that Qadri and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had promised that they would not enter the Red Zone, but they broke these promises.
He added that Imran Khan was being stubborn and demanding the PM’s resignation even though his other demands have been accepted.
"We accepted five of his six demands," Rafique stated, adding that it is not their own, but the Parliament's opinion, that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation cannot be demanded.
Rafique remarked that "Imran Khan is speaking in a non-parliamentary manner in the name of protests."