Sh Rashid urges PDM to defer long march

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Monday urged the Pakistan Democratic Movement to defer its long march scheduled to take place on Pakistan Day (March 23) and said that he is making the suggestion due to a terrorism-related threat, Geo News reported.

Speaking during a session of the Senate in Islamabad, the minister said that the Opposition can choose to continue with their long march but he would suggest rescheduling it. “Both Prime Minister Imran Khan and I love this country as much you (Opposition) do, but remember there is a terrorism threat on March 23,” he said.

The minister said that he is not “afraid of PDM’s long march but there are terrorism threats, adding that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was also told not to stage a procession in Rawalpindi because of security reasons but she went ahead with it despite the warnings.”

He said that on March 23, foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries will attend the Pakistan Day parade, therefore, “half of Islamabad will be under the control of [the government] and jammers will be installed there.”

“How will the Opposition [mark its influence] under such circumstances?” the minister questioned. Sh Rashid said that he would suggest “PDM show strength in Islamabad on March 17 or 27.”

Speaking about other matters, the interior minister said that India never wants Pakistan to have a good relationship with Afghanistan, adding that, “Indian spy agency Research Analyst Wing (RAW) is using some Pakistanis and paying them 2.5 million for working against Pakistan.”

He said the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) and Daesh are present in Balochistan. Shedding light on negotiating with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban, he said that the government is “not in the process of holding a dialogue with TTP.”

“Those who make strong demands and challenge the integrity of Pakistan, the statewill deal with them strictly,” he added. Sh Rashid said that the government will not allow any kind of terrorism in the country, adding that the “Opposition is also standing with us on this serious matter.”

“We want one narrative against terrorism,” he said. He also affirmed the government’s commitment to protecting the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), adding that “Imran Khan’s government will fulfil its commitment on CPEC.” The government had arrested terrorists involved in Dasu and Gwadar attacks (in which Chinese employees had lost their lives), he said.

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