ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Khan, while addressing a press conference on Saturday, stated that there had been a general consensus that the demands of the pro-Qadri protestors, staging a sit-in at D-Chowk, were invalid.
“A few individuals were making wrong use of the notion of the finality of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) for personal political gain, and it was decided that the area had to be cleared promptly,” said the interior minister.
The interior minister added that the consensus had been achieved in a meeting with the prime minister.
“We decided on Monday to remove them with as little violence as possible. A few ministers raised the point that there should be negotiations with them, but the opinion of an overwhelming majority of the leadership decided that they should be removed “, said Nisar.
Nisar explained the government decided to call in extra security forces Tuesday evening in order to have six personnel for each protestor, which reduced the risk of force being used due to the large number of security personnel present as they outnumbered the much smaller group of protestors.
“When a mob ─ yes, that was a mob ─ of 5,000 to 8,000 are gathered, no police force in the world can stop them without fatalities.”
Nisar conceded that there had been a lack of coordination between the provincial and capital authorities during the sit-in.
“The inquiry is ongoing as to why there was an administrative fallout.”
Addressing those who had gathered at D-Chowk, the Interior Minister criticised their destruction of public and private property and causing inconvenience to the public as contradictory to the Prophet’s (PBUH) example.
‘Criticism regarding Musharraf unfair’
The Interior Minister also addressed widespread criticism the government has received since former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf left the country for medical treatment abroad, complaining about accusations the present government is not serious regarding prosecuting the former president.
The minister read out clauses from Islamabad High Court (IHC) and Supreme Court’s (SC) observations, declaring that the government cannot impede Musharraf’s travel, and promised to present the complete “truth” from the court decisions on Monday.
“In 2011, Musharraf’s name was included in the FIR for the [Benazir Bhutto murder] case, but even then his name wasn’t placed in Exit Control List (ECL),” said Nisar, referring to the slow pace of progress in Musharraf’s prosecution during the previous government’s tenure.
“Where was the government then? We appointed a public prosecutor, had a special court made in the Supreme Court, and within five months completed prosecution.”
The minister was emphatic that the government is not responsible for the delays.
“During the last stage, the special court decided, at Musharraf’s request, to include three additional names of the law minister, prime minister, and the Chief Justice of the time. This wasn’t a government decision, but a special court decision.”
“Where is the government’s non-seriousness in this matter? We reconstituted our committee and launched investigations.”
‘Iran was insulted’
The Interior Minister also criticised the publicity given to the Iranian displeasure in relation to the arrest of Indian spy Kulbushan Jadhav.
“Iran was insulted. It was made to appear as if Iran is not a friendly and a brotherly country. The good feel factor between Iran and Pakistan after President Rouhani’s visit has been damaged immensely, but we are trying to address it.”
“The issue of the spy will be followed through, but that issue is with India, not with Iran.”
He also requested the media to not relate the issue of cooperation with Iran with Jadhav’s arrest.
“Please lend some caution to your voices and your pens. This is a very sensitive issue of relations between two brotherly countries and there are vested interests trying to hurt them.”