ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has constituted a five-member ministerial committee to monitor law and order situation in the context of protests planned by multiple organisations and groups in the federal capital.
According to a notification issued with the signature of Zafar Yab Khan, joint secretary security and administration, Ministry of Interior, the committee will be headed by Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and comprise Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem, Defence Minister Pervez Khatak, Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood and Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar.
Step has been taken ahead of protests planned by PDM, govt employees
Though the notification appears to be general in nature, it has been issued around a week ahead of the anti-government Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM)’s plan to stage a protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Jan 19.
Besides the concerned ministers, copies of the notification have also been sent to the secretary to the prime minister, secretary interior, chief commissioner and the inspector general of police Islamabad.
On Jan 6, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the head of PDM, announced that the opposition parties will stage a protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office in Islamabad on Jan 19.
“A founding Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) member has revealed that the party received funding from India, Europe and Israel,” Mr Rehman said at a rally in Bannu. He regretted that the ECP failed to hold the PTI accountable in the foreign funding case.
“We do not accept the rule of ones who did politics by taking funds from India and Israel,” he remarked.
The PDM, an alliance of 11 opposition parties, is currently holding anti-government protests in major cities. As part of the campaign, the alliance has already announced a march on Islamabad in February.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had last week allowed the PDM to protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan, warning the opposition parties that “no breach of law will be allowed.”
“If anyone desires to protest, they may, no obstacle should be put in the way of a demonstration,” said the prime minister during a meeting with Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.
Some believe that the high-powered ministerial committee had been constituted not only to keep a watch on PDM’s activities in the capital but also to oversee other upcoming protests, including one by federal government employees demanding better salaries and pension benefits.
Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2021