Marchers returned over fears of violence PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday claimed the fears of violence prompted the PTI marchers to return midway from the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway.
Earlier in the day, thousands of PTI activists, who clashed with police on the Motorway, returned to Swabi over failure to break through barricades at Burhan Interchange.
Chief Minister Pervez Khattak led them.
Spokesman for the provincial government Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani told a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club that the PML-N government had planned to cause violence and bloodshed before blaming it on the PTI.
Spokesman insists PML-N govt had planned Model Town-like bloodshed
“At midnight, marchers stopped attempts to break through roadblocks fearing that the PML-N could commit something like the Model Town Lahore bloodshed in the darkness of the night. Later during the day, PTI chief Imran Khan directed them to return to Swabi. The return was prompted by concerns of violence,” he said.
Mr. Ghani criticised the use of force to stop PTI marchers saying it was an atrocity to use such force against peaceful and unarmed protesters.
He said protesters were peaceful and unarmed and the excessive force was used to disperse them.
He said expired teargas shells were used against protesters.
“These shells could have blinded protesters besides causing cancer,” he said.
The spokesman said protesters were literally besieged at Burhan Interchange due to heavy teargas shelling.
He said rubber bullets were also used against marchers.
“The chief minister, his cabinet members and PTI workers remained steadfast and were determined to go to the federal capital but they’re told to go back by the PTI chief,” he said.
Mr. Ghani rejected the allegation that the armed bands were going to take over the capital and said had that been the case, they certainly would have engaged the police personnel mercilessly subjecting them to teargas shelling on the Motorway.
He said marchers didn’t want to create a law and order situation and only wanted to go to Bani Gala, Islamabad’s locality, where Imran Khan lives.
The spokesman said the CM along with other cabinet members had planned to go to the police and asked them to remove blockades but he didn’t do so soon after his vehicle was tear gassed by the Punjab police.
He said PTI workers were not ready to come back to Peshawar but the leadership persuaded them after great efforts.
Mr. Ghani said the change of course in politics should not be a matter of great concern as the decisions were made keeping the situation in view.
He said it was a mistake to proceed to Islamabad via Motorway and that marchers should have used GT Road as they faced immense problems during the rally towards Islamabad.
The spokesman said had the GT Road was used to go to Islamabad, PTI workers would have access to edibles.
He said the PTI workers didn’t violate the Constitution as they were peaceful but despite all they were stopped at gunpoint and tear gassed.
“The PTI workers from across the province will gather at the Swabi Interchange at around 10am and will leave for the federal capital to take part in the thanksgiving rally,” he said.