INTERIOR Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed addressing a press conference on Monday.—White Star
INTERIOR Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed addressing a press conference on Monday.—White Star

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to give a free hand to the 10-party anti-government Pakistan Democratic Movement alliance for holding a protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday (today).

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told a press conference on Monday that the government had decided to give a free hand to PDM to organise a rally in the Red Zone. But he made it clear that nobody would be allowed to take the law into their own hands.

He said no container would be placed and no hurdle would be created in the way of the PDM to stage a demonstration outside the ECP. The ECP is a constitutional body and it is expected that the opposition will respect its sanctity. He said the PDM should know that the Supreme Court, Parliament House and other institutions were situated on Constitution Avenue and the government had taken all necessary security measures for their protection.

The minister said for the first time the PDM had been allowed to organise its rally in the Red Zone. He said the law enforcement agencies would watch whether any seminary student was participating in the PDM rally. He said the law would take its course if anybody attempted to take the law into their own hands.

Answering a question, Mr Rashid said that action would be taken if any baton or uniform-clad group, like Anasar-ul-Islam, participated in the opposition’s rally.

To another question, the minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party had submitted record of 40,000 transactions to ECP, but the opposition parties were unable to produce record of just 4,000 people from whom they had received foreign funding.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2021

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