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Bloodletting likely during march, Pakistan PM told

Publication Date : 13-08-2014

 

The government is unlikely to allow the Pakistan Awami Tehreek to take out its Inqilab (revolution) march as prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been told that some hitmen have infiltrated into its folds for bloodletting during the march.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, however, will be allowed to continue with its Azadi march after a ‘nominal’ resistance by police.

A senior government official told Dawn that an intelligence agency briefed the prime minister on Tuesday about the impact of the marches the PAT and PTI would be undertaking on Aug 14.

Sharif was told that some hired-guns had infiltrated into the PAT ranks and they would initiate a clash with law-enforcement personnel and then resort to firing on the workers, he said.

About the capability of both the PAT and PTI to gather people, the intelligence agency said the two could not assemble more than 100,000 protesters – PAT about 10,000 to 20,000 and PTI around 80,000.

The agency was also quoted as claiming to have detected some ‘undesirable foreign links’ of PAT.

The official would not explain these links.

However, opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah recently asked the government to investigate if the Zionist lobby was behind the marches.

Keeping in view the intelligence reports, the official said, the government decided not to let PAT go ahead with its Inqilab march.

The prime minister, however, directed that only ‘administrative’ measures should be taken to keep the PTI march under control and the police should offer only ‘nominal’ resistance if the participants of the Azadi March tried to remove the containers the administration had placed on various roads leading to the federal capital, the official said.

Meanwhile, the prime minister lost his hope in the mediation of the Jamaat-i-Islami emir and avoided meeting Sirajul Haq, who was carrying PTI’s response to the proposal the government had conveyed the previous day.

Only chief minister Shahbaz Sharif was there to receive the JI delegation at Model Town offices of the PML-N on Tuesday.

Shahbaz was told that the PTI wanted to be allowed to continue with its march and that the government should announce acceptance of its demands at the end of the march so that Imran Khan could return as a ‘winner’.

The government was ready to allow the Azadi march on the condition that the participants would remain in Islamabad only for one day.

 

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