ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali on Monday said the government has “put its foot down” on the holding of another chehlum for Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, adding that the government will not allow any group or party to hold political gatherings in the capital’s Red Zone or the F-9 park.
“Why Islamabad? The whole of Pakistan is available for political gatherings or jalsas,” questioned the interior minister.
He said the government will come out with a proposal to define areas in Islamabad where jalsas can be held.
“We will put up the proposal for discussion in Parliament,” Nisar said, adding that paralysing the federal capital had cost the country's treasury billions of rupees in 2014, referring to the four-month protest sit-in staged by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
“Businesses remained closed for months, the Chinese president’s visit was delayed and the government spent over a billion rupees on security measures taken during the time,” the minister said.
Nisar went on to say that if the government allows holding of gatherings at a particular place in Islamabad, “I will need guarantees that the jalsa will not move from that area.”
“If they try to move from the jalsa area and action is taken by law enforcers to contain them and people die as a result, we will not be responsible for those casualties.
The April 24 PTI jalsa should follow these rules and I am ready to talk to Imran Khan about these issues to chalk out a plan.”