LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Friday disclosed that some elements in the Imran Khan government wanted to use force against the JUI-F’s October last sit-in in Islamabad to disperse the protesters but his party counseled the premier over the repercussions of the step.
“Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi told PM Khan that in case of use of force there could be casualties, advising him that no one in his government would be ready to own this and eventually he (premier) would be held responsible for this,” Chaudhry Shujaat said in a statement issued here on Friday.
Without naming who were in favour of using the force against the sit-in holders, the PML-Q head said: “Some people (in the government) were in favour of using force to end Maualan Fazlur Rehman’s dharna (sit-in). No one was ready to talk to Imran Khan to tell him about the adverse consequences of this step.
(Punjab Assembly Speaker) Pervaiz Elahi, who was not a formal member of the government negotiating team, counseled Imran Khan that if bloodshed started, nobody would be ready to take the responsibility and he (Khan) would be answerable for this. On this, PM Khan deferred the decision to use force... and subsequently, the Maulana ended the sit-in through a peaceful dialogue with us,” he said.
A source in the PTI told Dawn that PM Khan had made up his mind to use the force against the protesters who camped in the capital for his resignation after consulting the ‘hawkish’ group in the party. “Imran Khan was upset over the language used in the sit-in about him and the Maulana was also prolonging the protest in violation of his early commitment.”
However, he said, Mr Elahi managed to persuade the premier to handle the matter through dialogue.
“The Chaudhrys had in the past advised former president Gen Musharraf not to use force in the Lal Masjid case but he declined and subsequently he had to pay the price for what happened there,” he said.
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had claimed that he had ended his three-week Islamabad sit-in on the assurance that PM Khan would immediately step down and new elections would be held three months after his resignation.
Recently, the Maulana had asked Pervaiz Elahi to disclose the secret he was carrying as ‘amanat’ for ending the sit-in. It is said that Maulana Fazl had ended the sit-in after ‘some assurance’ from the powers that be.
Talking on assurances to Maulana Fazl, Chaudhry Shujaat said: “The clash between police and protesters seemed imminent. But Maulana’s far-farsightedness and our belief to resolve the matter through dialogue helped avert the clash.”
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2020