No one to be allowed to storm capital with armed gang: Rana

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Admits Govt failed to control inflation

Ijaz Kakakhel
Islamabad

About Imran Khan’s plan to march on Islamabad, Federal Minister for Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Saturday said that no one will be allowed to storm the federal capital.

Talking to journalists, the interior minister said that heavy contingent of Police and Rangers is at disposal of the government but every effort will be made for careful use of force to minimalize losses. He warned that if Imran brings armed men, then they will be responded in kind.

“However, if Imran comes for a peaceful protest, then we will offer him choice of locations to peacefully hold a rally,” he added. He alleged that PTI Chairman Imran Khan was only trying to push the country towards chaos, adding that it was condemnable.

Regarding reports of the government adopting a strict approach towards the PTI, the interior minister questioned the media representatives that if a party said it was marching on to Islamabad then what other response it could be given.

He said that if an “armed gang” came then it was obvious that law enforcement agencies would have to act and stop any such attempt. “If he comes with the aim to protest, I am saying this on record, we will give them the place, give them security and even food. But if they want to trample over the state or head towards the Red Zone, then it is our constitutional responsibility to stop such people.”He said that it would be the government’s attempt that “any power that used is done so carefully” to keep losses to a minimum. The interior minister also assailed the PTI government’s economic performance and blamed it for the current issues in the country. He added that the results of the PTI’s tenure were now coming to the fore and “exposing” the party. Rana Sanaullah admitted that tough decisions taken by the federal government to get the bailout package by the International Monetary Fund caused runaway inflation which the government was unable to control. However, he said that the opposition gloating that their narrative against the government was gaining popularity in the masses was an incorrect perception.

“An attempt is being made by the opposition to paint their narrative as popular among the masses,” Sanaullah said, adding, “It is a fact when it was the PTI govt, there was inflation and the government of the time was blamed.” “We could not control inflation, we do not deny it,” he admitted.

The interior minister said that it was their hope and calculation that as soon as the deal with the International Monetary Fund is brokered and the bailout programme is put back on track, relief would be given to the people.

On taking action against Punjab for refusing the federal government’s request to give around 20,000 police officers, Sanaullah said that there exist provisions in the constitution that prescribe a course of action. Asked if Governor rule will be implemented, the interior minister said that he cannot decide that, adding that this is something for the federal cabinet and the parliament to decide.

The interior minister criticised former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan for breaking the deal with IMF, saying that the government had to take tough decisions to resume the package that resulted in inflation.

The Minister also said that the PML-N senior leader Ishaq Dar would return to the county in the coming week and help facilitate the government’s economic team. He said Dar would be able to help Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif manage the country’s economic affairs “better”.

Agencies add: The minister accused the PTI chief of himself admitting the presence of a group that had weapons during the party’s previous ‘long march’, held on May 25 this year.

“If any group talks about attacking Islamabad, shall we lie down in front of them?” the minister questioned, reiterating that the PTI will be stopped if they came in the form of violent groups.

The minister further blamed the PTI for destroying the career the Lahore Capital City Police Officer, Ghulam Mahmood Dogar, adding that the CCPO should report to the federal government.

Three days ago, in a surprising move, the centre had withdrawn the CCPO’s services and directed him to report to the Establishment Division for further order.

The interior minister, discussing the appointment of the next chief of army staff, said that if they ceded to Imran’s pressure, the organisation would be “destroyed”.

He held that the appointment of the COAS would be conducted on time and as per procedure and that any delays or premature decisions could lead to the destruction of the institution and the country.

He maintained that Imran Khan has “confounded” the issue so much that if the trend was not questioned today, it will continue to create difficulties every three years.

 

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