ISLAMABAD: Minister for Interior Rehman Malik on Monday said that Dr Tahirul Qadri’s claim of bringing four million people in the long march had proved wrong as the participants accompanying their leader were not more than 20,000.
“The chief of Tehrik-e-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) has failed to fulfill his claim as the number of people present in his rally is far less than the figure he exaggerated earlier,” the minister told reporters after having an aerial view of the long march.
He termed the long march part of an international conspiracy against Pakistan and said Dr Qadri should have adopted democratic means to raise his voice. “Indian attacks, wave of terrorism and the long march are indicating an international plot against our country,” he said.
Malik said Jundullah, a terrorist outfit, had hurled threats of attacks on Qadri’s rally. He said intelligence agencies had warned of fresh threats of suicide attacks on the march. “I request Allama Tahirul Qadri to go back to Canada to avoid disaster,” the minister said.He said the district administration had not given any deadline to Dr Qadri for stay in Islamabad.
Answering a question, he said that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had issued a notice to the TMQ chief seeking mention of source of funds bearing the expenses for holding the long march. Malik said as per the TMQ estimates, Rs4,500 had been spent on one participant.
He said that the code of conduct for the long march had already been agreed upon between the district administration, Islamabad, and the TMQ according to which vehicles could only be parked in the designated area. The minister said that the law breakers would be dealt with an iron hand.
Replying to another question, he said that the name of Qadri had not been put on the Exit Control List as he could fly to Canada any time where he had spent the last six years of his life.
He said Tahirul Qadri had already been informed of the threats to the long march. On a question about the special security arrangements for the long march, Malik said SOPs had been approved.
“Sensitive areas including the Parliament House, Diplomatic Enclave, and other locations have been cordoned off. No one will be allowed to bring arms in the long march. Qadri will remain in a bulletproof vehicle,” he said.The interior minister threatened to issue a ‘white paper’ against Qadri and demanded that he leave Islamabad on moral grounds.
He accused the TMQ chief of attempting to derail the democratic process and postpone the upcoming general elections.The minister said the allegations of digging trenches in Islamabad and filling them with ammunition, as leveled by Qadri against the government, were baseless. He dubbed the long march a ‘puppet show’ and told Qadri to ‘accept your defeat, and roll up’.