ISLAMABAD, Jan 5: Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Saturday that the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was planning to carry out an attack on the proposed march by Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran’s Dr Tahirul Qadri.
Talking to reporters, he said an intercepted telephonic conversation revealed that a conspiracy was afoot to attack the march. “We have finalised arrangements for those coming to Islamabad, including some sick persons,” were the intercepted words, according to Mr Malik.
He said the threat of a possible attack on the march was being assessed to take a decision about the future course of action.
He said at first the threat was not taken seriously, but the TTP spokesman’s “confirmation” of the plan had forced the government to think otherwise.
The minister said the government welcomed Dr Qadri’s rally to Islamabad because he was coming to express his viewpoint.
He, however, stressed that it should be peaceful and no inconvenience should be caused to residents of the federal capital.
In reply to a question, Mr Malik said the government had mandated him to hold talks with Dr Qadri and he would contact him soon. He said he would be delighted to meet a religious scholar like Dr Qadri.
He said conspiracies were being hatched against the country and confusion was being created about the holding of general elections on time.
The minister, however, made it clear that the elections would be held on time.
He said all political parties, including the PML-N, PML-Q and ANP, had categorically opposed any attempt to postpone elections.
To a question about progress in talks with extremists, Mr Malik said the government had asked them to renounce violence if they were really serious about dialogue. He said extremists had refused to hold talks with him.
The interior minister asked the Taliban to form a team for holding talks with the government.
He called upon the Taliban to revolt against their “criminal leadership” responsible for killing of hundreds of innocent people. The minister said the government would give general amnesty and offer jobs to the revolting Taliban.
“There are no good or bad Taliban. All of them are enemy of the country.”