Govt aims to keep PTI at bay

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  • Crackdown on PTI activists in Punjab on the cards to counter mass mobilisation on Nov 30
  • Punjab govt moves proposal to PM for keeping PTI protesters away from Red Zone, D-Chowk while information minister says violence will not be allowed

 

 

Taking action on intelligence reports of a suspected violent protest by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on November 30, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government is planning to obstruct the PTI activists from entering the Red Zone in the federal capital, sources told Pakistan Today.

A PML-N leader, requesting anonymity, said that the Punjab government has forwarded a proposal in this regard to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“The proposal is based on intelligence information that PTI chief Imran Khan was planning to attack the state buildings which may trigger a ‘bloodbath’ in the federal capital,” he said, adding that the “vicious plan” is aimed to defame the PML-N government through the occurrence of a violent incident such as the one that occurred in Model Town.

The PML-N leader cited intelligence reports indicating that PTI had a “weak organisational structure” and “lacked capacity to dodge and defy the state machinery” unlike the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).

“This time around we are hopeful to better tackle the PTI’s rally as compared to what happened on August 14. We think that the main force for the rally would come from Punjab where state muscle might be used to ensure thin participation of PTI workers,” the source added.

“Police crackdown and raids would be conducted against PTI workers in smaller cities prior to the November 30 rally to keep the operation away from media’s eyes. Moreover, attacks by the PML-N workers at PTI rally cannot be ruled out,” the PML-N leader added.

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When contacted, Minister for Information & Broadcasting Senator Pervez Rashid said, “Though the government is yet to finalise its plan to handle the PTI’s rally, the PML-N leaders have suggested the government not to allow the PTI rally to arrive at D-Chowk as Imran Khan had violated all previous commitments made with the local administration.”

“Even the police personnel were subjected to torture by violent PTI workers. So our party wants the government not to allow Imran Khan to repeat violent incidents of the recent past,” he said and added that even the PTI chief himself had threatened to hold violent protests on November 30.

The minister said that his party leaders wanted the government to allow the PTI protesters to hold a protest rally far from D-Chowk as protest was the democratic right of all citizens.

“The local administration of Islamabad has asked the PTI leadership about their November 30 rally plan but no response has been received as yet. We will take a decision once the PTI leadership comes up with their plan but the government would remain within the parameters set by the PML-N’s parliamentary party,” he concluded.