ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday that no one would be allowed to derail democracy through undemocratic means.
In a bid to downplay the much-anticipated political hype in the backdrop of calls for long march and protests in the country ahead of the forthcoming Independence Day, Prime Minister Nawaz warned that no one would be allowed to challenge the writ of the state. The warning appears to be a clear signal to Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Tahirul Qadri-led Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) that the government would not sit idle, watching their march on the capital. Both Imran and Qadri have vowed not to budge from their stated positions of toppling the government.
Nawaz, however, seems to be in no mood to allow further space to his staunch opponents who are bent upon his removal from office. Sources familiar with a consultative meeting of the prime minister with his party’s bigwigs at his office on Monday said that Nawaz stressed that no one would be allowed to derail democracy through undemocratic means. “I don’t understand the plans of advocates of long marches and protests at a time when the government is trying tooth and nail to rescue the country from manifold challenges being faced by it,” Nawaz said while vowing that the law will take its course against anyone who dares to violate it.
The PM said that he was prepared to listen to the opposition and remove their reservations and concerns, irrespective of whether they sit with him before the long march or after it or in parliament. He said that some elements wanted to create a law and order situation by resorting to the path of violence, “however, the masses are familiar with their objectives and intentions and would not let them achieve their ulterior motives. “Political issues are not solved through demonstrations and marches but with negotiations and reconciliation”, he remarked.
“We will not allow anyone to create a law and order problem. Running of the state is a serious business and opponents of the government should be clear about it,” Nawaz said. He added that if anyone has reservations against the government or its performance, the constitution has clearly defined the way out. “Unconstitutional and undemocratic ways are not acceptable at all,” he remarked. Inside sources said that during the meeting the prime minister spoke little and listened more to his trusted lieutenants.
When different suggestions started coming in from the PML-N leaders about how to handle Imran Khan’s Azadi March, the prime minister, in a lighter vein, asked who should be tasked with teaching Imran the basics of politics. When Nawaz, according to his top political aide, was briefly in a relaxed mood during the meeting, he said with a smile on his face: “Imran Khan would have been an excellent soldier if he had joined the armed forces.”
At the end of the meeting, the PM’s Office issued a statement, saying that during the meeting the ongoing military offensive in North Waziristan, plight of displaced families from the tribal region, the energy crisis and law and order situation in the country were reviewed. According to the statement, the meeting expressed satisfaction on progress made by the Pak-China joint commission on energy pockets. The prime minister directed to expedite the up-gradation of the country’s electricity transmission and distribution system so that additional power generated from ongoing and new projects is smoothly distributed and line losses are controlled. “No laxity would be tolerated on the part of project teams working on up-gradation of power transmission and distribution system. We aim at providing affordable electricity to the masses,” Nawaz said.
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