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Malik vows to provide security for Qadri’s march

January 07, 2013

Interior Minister Rehman Malik meets with Dr Tahirul Qadri at his residence in Islamabad on Monday. – Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Monday said that “full security” will be provided to participants of the long march proposed by Dr Tahirul Qadri for Jan 14 despite threats from Taliban militants, DawnNews reported.

The Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) chief vowed last month that he would lead a “long march” protest on Islamabad from Lahore if the government fails to begin electoral reforms within three weeks.

“Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has threatened to attack the long march,” Malik told reporters in a joint press conference with Qadri.

“But we will not stop the long march and provide them full security,” he added.

No spokesman for TTP, the Taliban umbrella militant group, was immediately available for comment.

Qadri vowed that he would not budge from his mission and would stage the planned protest in the capital city.

“Long march will take place on January 14 God willing and it will remain peaceful,” Qadri said.

“Our mission is to strengthen democracy and pave the way for free and fair elections as enshrined in the constitution,” he said, adding that he was opposed to any delay in the elections due in May this year.

Meanwhile, citing logistical issues and the terrorism threat, Chief Commissioner Islamabad Tariq Mahmood Pirzada, in a letter to the interior ministry, expressed doubts at hosting the march in the capital.

Pirzada wrote that Islamabad, being a city of only a million, would not be able to hold four million protesters.

The commissioner moreover said that Dr Tahirul Qadri was on militants’ hit-list and any terrorist can enter the city’s red-zone posing as a participant of the rally.