LAHORE: PML-N Central Media Coordinator Muhammad Mehdi has alleged that Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri planned to attack and occupy the Parliament House, Presidency and Prime Minister’s House two days ago.

Speaking at a press conference here on Sunday, he claimed the aim of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) leadership was to “get some bodies to give a boost to their sinking political boat”.

He said the government had exercised restraint until the last moment and removed police from the route of the marchers when they had entered the Red Zone and then when they marched towards the PM’s House.

Also Read: Imran's move towards PM House prompted by a message: Javed Hashmi

But, Mehdi lamented, the protesters changed their route and tried to enter the Presidency. Announcements were made through loudspeakers asking activists to occupy the Parliament House, he added.

He claimed the government only discharged its duty of protecting and ensuring sanctity of state institutions when the protesters “assaulted the symbols of state”.

Responding to a query, the PML-N leader said both the PTI and PAT leaders had brought supporters’ women and children with them, but sent their own children abroad. He said Imran sent both his sons to London on Aug 12, while Dr Qadri’s family went to Canada before the start of the march. Similarly, he claimed, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s son Moonis Elahi had also gone abroad.

Also Read: Imran parts ways with Hashmi

Referring to PTI President Javed Hashmi’s press conference earlier on Sunday, Mehdi said it exposed Imran and Dr Qadri’s “anti-people and insensitive approach” and made it clear the two parties were working on a foreign agenda for “blocking investment in the country and stopping Gwadar Port from becoming operational”.

AWP: The Awami Workers Party has reiterated its support for the parliamentary democratic system in the country, and has once again rejected the “dubious methods of the PTI and PAT”, warning that the mayhem that has unfolded in front of the Parliament House and PM’s House may descend into total breakdown of constitutional rule.

The AWP said democratic political forces had already been forced into retreat by the announcement on the night of Aug 28 that the military would act as a ‘facilitator’ between the government and the protesting parties, and the threat of a direct military intervention was growing greater by the day.

AWP President Abid Hasan Minto, Chairman Fanoos Gujjar and General Secretary Farooq Tariq emphasised the “complete bankruptcy” of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, who were holding the country hostage to their narrow agenda.

The AWP leadership said only the left had a workable political programme for genuine democracy and fundamental change in Pakistan. Right-wing populists like Dr Qadri and Imran had cheapened the idea of revolution by associating it with their elitist, megalomaniacal and reactionary politics, they added.

The party leaders asserted any anti-democratic move by the establishment under the guise of anti-government protests should be opposed at all costs as despite the civilian government’s major economic and political failings, it retained a mandate to fulfil its term in office.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2014

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