Pakistan Muslim League-N’s leader and former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar has urged all stakeholders to put an end to the festering tradition of sit-ins in country.
Talking to media representatives at his residence in Taxila, he said, “In bid to make Pakistan a prosperous country, tradition of sit-ins must be called off,” Nisar stressed.
Nisar also warned against rule of gangs in the country if the ritual of sit-in continues to get stronger. He revealed that he had held discussions with the incumbent premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi amidst Faizabad sit-in and advised him against use of force on protesters.
Nisar advised his party’s aides to focus on upcoming polls and avoid confrontation with the state institutions. He dismissed rumours of rift within party and formation of forward block.
Chaudhry Nisar said that all political parties, the media, the army and other institutions need to come together to end the politics of sit-ins across Pakistan. “If the country is to move forward and progress in a positive direction, we need to leave the politics of sit-ins behind,” he said. Nisar was of the opinion that a precedent seemed to have been set, wherein powerful groups, some with considerable militant power, stage a sit-in and lay siege to Islamabad.
“If we need to stop Pakistan from turning into a banana republic, political parties need to drop the politics of sit-ins.”
“This does not happen in democratic countries,” Nisar noted. The former interior minster said that there were two sit-ins during his tenure, and he had issued strict instructions to the authorities and protestors regarding the sensitivity of the Faizabad interchange.
“I faced a lot of backlash over my decision to allow the protestors to proceed to D-Chowk. However, if they had occupied Faizabad, it would have completely paralysed the twin cities,” Nisar quipped.
“I am not against sit-ins. They are a basic right in a democratic country. But if the sit-in disturbs the day to day lives of ordinary citizens, it should not be allowed.”
“What is the fault of the poor labourer who has to go to work and earn for his family? Or of the people across the city commuting about their daily business?” Nisar asked.
“I will not disclose what I advised PM Abbasi since the sit-in has ended, and I do not want to talk about the decisions taken during the sit-in either,” he added. Nisar said that the police and FC officials in Pakistan are fully capable of confronting protestors.
When asked if the government will be able to complete its tenure, he remarked: “You should ask the government this, I am not in the government anymore.” Nisar was also asked if he maintains his stance on Pakistan Muslim League-N’s criticism of the Panama verdict, which led to the disqualification of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
“I am still steadfast in my stance. I believe we should not target the entire judiciary. Moreover, the army should also not be targetted,” he added.
The former interior minister also refused to comment on a statement of Awami Muslim League Cheif Sheikh Rashid. “This person changes his loyalty every minute, please stop giving importance to such people,” he told the journalists.
Nisar said that the government should not target judiciary and the Army.