• Sana calls PTI rally a ‘criminal march’
• Body formed to decide on the measures to be taken against the leaders of the PTI
• Cabinet concerned about KP Chief Minister’s statement
ISLAMABAD: Expressing its determination to block the forthcoming Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) long march head-on, the federal cabinet on Tuesday formed a five-member committee to determine what action should be taken against the party leadership for having attempted to ‘invade’ the capital by violence on 25 May.
“It was a criminal march and I proposed strict punishment for the PTI leaders under the Pakistani penal code,” Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told a press conference after the cabinet meeting. .
Along with Prime Minister’s Advisor for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira and Communications Minister Asad Mehmood, Mr Sanaullah said the PTI would not be allowed to hold another march at the future, adding that cases had already been registered against the party. leaders as well as thousands of armed marchers who damaged state property.
He was of the view that strict action should be taken against them for attempting to occupy Islamabad through violence.
“We have information that the PTI has so far not planned another long march, but if so, we will start arresting its leaders from that day under the already registered FIRs” , he said, adding that the committee had been formed to chalk out an action plan to deal with anti-state activities.
The Home Minister said the cabinet had expressed concern over the recent statement by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan who said he would use the full force of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa whenever PTI President Imran Khan would issue the next protest call.
The cabinet meeting also took note of the former prime minister’s remarks during the build-up to his party’s recent march as well as his admission that some of the protesters were armed.
The meeting was assured that any anti-state march in the future would be dealt with with an iron fist.
Mr. Sanaullah also informed cabinet members that the PTI’s Azadi March was an “anti-state conspiracy” and not a political activity.
He alleged it was an ‘armed attack on the state’ under the guise of political activity and claimed no law enforcement officials were carrying a weapon at the site of the march .
During the meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said he had ordered the Interior Ministry and law enforcement not to allow security officials to carry weapons at the march site. .
The cabinet commended the nation for “rejecting” Imran’s Azadi March and commended the law enforcement agencies for “carrying out their duties effectively.”
“State resources were used to advance Imran Khan’s political agenda and armed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa policemen were illegally included in the criminal gang’s army,” Sanaullah added.
“When they were arrested in Attock, Mianwali and Islamabad city limits, they opened fire on the police officers and removed the barricades,” he said.
Mr. Sanaullah went on to say that the party deceived the Supreme Court and obtained a favorable order, which allowed them to organize a demonstration on land in sector H-9. He alleged that all the protesters who gathered in D-Chowk were from “the same province” and had arrived in Islamabad a day earlier.
“We have marked all the buildings and hotels [where they stayed]; we note in our report details of these people, such as where they come from and where they stayed,” he said, adding that some also stayed in the Parliament Buildings and KP House.
The Home Secretary claimed that the police only used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters, pointing out that they (the police) did not fire a single shot.
He said he had proposed to the cabinet to allow the registration of the cases against the PTI leaders, adding that the federal government should grant permission for this as it was the competent authority.
“If my position has any weight, the committee will inform the cabinet of its decision,” he said, reiterating that there was evidence to support the true intentions of the PTI.
“I hope cases will be recorded and this group will be prosecuted,” Mr Sanaullah said.
Grant for Hajj Pilgrims
The cabinet has approved a grant of 2.24 billion rupees for Haj pilgrims, which would help reduce Hajj expenses by 150,000 rupees per person.
The government had recently increased Haj expenditure under the government program from Rs551,020 to Rs860,177.
The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, also endorsed proposals to import three million tonnes of wheat and 0.2 million tonnes of urea through government-to-government and international tenders. .
The Cabinet also agreed to additional grants amounting to Rs 7.56 billion for the Immunization Program, Rs 107.84 million for Law and Order, Rs 200 million for the Ministry of Justice, 50 billion rupees for the energy division and 24 billion rupees for the income support program of Benazir.
Posted in Dawn, June 1, 2022