Pro-Qadri protesters given the night to disperse on their own: Nisar

Published March 29, 2016
If the protest doesn’t end in the next one hour, then we will clear the Red Zone in the morning, asserts Nisar. —DawnNews screengrab
If the protest doesn’t end in the next one hour, then we will clear the Red Zone in the morning, asserts Nisar. —DawnNews screengrab

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan announced that the government will clear the D-Chowk of protesters on Wednesday “at any cost”, if they don’t disperse by themselves in the night.

While addressing a press conference on Tuesday night, Nisar said “if the protest doesn’t end in the next one hour, then we will clear the Red Zone in the morning”.

It is not difficult to conduct an operation but there are innocent people in there who have been mislead, “we don’t want bloodshed and want this to end peacefully”, said Nisar.

“The government is trying its best to protect people’s lives, but will make sure that it ends tomorrow anyhow.”

Currently the administration is discussing the issue that who should be allowed to leave and who shouldn’t as some miscreant elements are using the protesters as human shields, he maintained.

A rally organised by the Sunni Tehreek (ST) saw more than 10,000 charged protesters enter the federal capital on Sunday, damaging buildings and setting fire to the metro station, containers and buses.

The interior minister held Punjab government responsible for the security lapse but went on to say that the religious parties violated the written commitments they had made earlier.

“The permission to hold the gathering to mark chehlum of Mumtaz Qadri was granted on the written assurance that the participants will disperse in the evening following the Asar prayers. But a section of the gathering violated the commitment and resorted to violence.”

Some people tried to do politics under the cover of a religious gathering, he added.

Qadri, an Elite Force commando, was executed at Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail on February 29. Qadri shot Taseer 28 times in broad daylight in Islamabad’s Kohsar Market on January 4, 2011.

Referring to the slogans chanted by the protesters, Nisar said “mere slogans don’t get you jannah, but you righteous actions do”.

“The Holy Prophet (PBUH) always kept his commitments. But unfortunately some people are carrying out violent activities in the name of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).”

Nisar maintained that legal action will definitely be taken against the people who caused damage to the state installations and announced that some arrests have already been.

A committee has been formed to closely monitor the security situation and access the shortcomings which lead to these people entering the Red Zone, he said.

We had already shared intelligence based information with the Punjab government, but it failed to control the situation and will be held answerable for its negligence, the interior minister said.

"But once the people had gathered, regardless of how, then it would have been inappropriate to exercise force against them."

Additional reinforcements have been called and written orders have been passed that if there is a need to conduct an operation, then no security personnel — even an officer — will be armed, asserted Nisar.

The clean-up operation will be done in broad daylight in front of media so that everyone is witness to “who does what”, he said.

“I am thankful to the media for being sensible in handling the issue.”

The Islamabad district administration had earlier given the pro-Qadri protesters gathered outside Parliament House a two-hour notice to disperse.

The sit-in continued despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Monday night address to the nation during which he warned radical Islamists not to take the government's leniency as a sign of weakness.

The address followed a massive suicide bombing at Lahore's Gulshan-i-Iqbal park in which at least 72 people were killed.

The army responded by launching raids on suspected militant hideouts across Punjab.

More than 200 suspects have been detained in the raids in the past 48 hours, a security official said.

Opinion

Editorial

Police Lines bombing
Updated 31 Jan, 2023

Police Lines bombing

Where the menace of terrorism is concerned, the government and opposition need to close ranks and put up a united front.
Oil price hike
31 Jan, 2023

Oil price hike

THE record single-day increase in petrol prices, preceded by massive currency depreciation, signifies the ...
Babar Azam’s award
31 Jan, 2023

Babar Azam’s award

BABAR Azam might not have lifted many trophies as Pakistan’s all-format captain in the last year but the star...
Blatant Islamophobia
Updated 30 Jan, 2023

Blatant Islamophobia

Muslim extremists and terrorist outfits are emboldened by hateful acts.
Modern slavery
30 Jan, 2023

Modern slavery

MODERN slavery is a wide-ranging term that can encompass a multitude of scenarios. Common to all of them, however, ...
Remarkable Sania
30 Jan, 2023

Remarkable Sania

BRINGING to a close a career in which she smashed stereotypes, Sania Mirza delivered almost the perfect ending in ...