ISLAMABAD: After the military issued a statement saying it was playing the role of facilitator in the ongoing political crisis at the government's behest, the interior minister lamented over what he called the misunderstandings being created on the mediation to manage the deadlock in Islamabad.
"The statement released by the ISPR first came to me," Chaudhry Nisar said, adding that he showed to the statement to the prime minister who also approved it.
"ISPR's statement is echoing the government’s view," he said.
Nisar went on to explain the government’s decision of engaging the army and said: “We asked who the protesting parties trusted to which they said they trusted the army…on this the government gave the army the responsibility to facilitate the process within the constitutional and legal ambit.”
Expressing exasperation over the protests by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), Nisar said the blame-game and accusations made by two groups against the government was unfortunate.
He also referred to the varying versions of who called whom and who sought the military's role to mediate the crisis, Nisar said there was no need for "this misunderstanding but it was created on purpose" by forces who wanted to use the army for their political gains.
No one had requested the government to be made a guarantor or an arbitrator in the crisis, he said, adding that having the army as a guarantor and an arbitrator would be unconstitutional.
The army is totally apolitical and is working within its legal perimeters, the interior minister said, adding that the word “facilitate” and it was constitutionally viable.
"The facilitation being done by the army has been allowed and authorised by the government," he read out from his notes in an attempt to dispel the impression that the government may have relinquished, if not lost, control of the situation.
The interior minister said that if anyone has any grievances with the government, the solution to that was not to seek the prime minister's resignation as was being done.
He referred to the FIR registered over Model Town saying that it was strange that while the tragic incident had taken place in Lahore, the insistence was on for nominating the prime ministers and even federal ministers in the complaint.
Lamenting that groups had adopted the culture of threats and hurling abuses at the government to push forward their agendas, Nisar said, adding that it was the government’s accommodating nature that had ensured that the requisite FIR was registered.
Nisar made clear that the government would allow no red lines to be crossed, adding that it was the duty of the country's law enforcement agencies and its armed forces to ensure that these are not crossed so Pakistan does not become a Banana Republic.
"We have tried to make sure that there is no loss of life, adding that if the protesters wanted to put the country’s armed forces to test by standing in their way, it would expose that they do not have Pakistan’s interests at heart," he said.
The minister warned that if the protesters engaged in violence, the consequences of that situation would be up to them and not the government.