Sheikh Rasheed says he is not 'afraid of PDM’s long march but there is terrorism threat on March 23'
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed on Monday urged the Opposition to reschedule their long march set to take place on Pakistan Day (March 23) citing the threat of terrorism.
Addressing a session of the Senate in Islamabad, the Rasheed said that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) can choose to continue with their long march but he would suggest rescheduling it.
He further added that both Prime Minister Imran Khan and he love this country as much the Opposition does, "but remember there is a terrorism threat on March 23."
The minister said that he is not "afraid of PDM’s long march but there are terrorism threats, adding that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was also told not to stage a procession in Rawalpindi because of security reasons but she went ahead with it despite the warnings."
He said that on March 23, foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries will attend the Pakistan Day parade, therefore, "half of Islamabad will under be the control of [the government] and jammers will be installed there."
"How will the Opposition [mark its influence] under such circumstances?" the minister questioned.
Rasheed said that he would suggest "PDM show strength in Islamabad on March 17 or 27."
Speaking about other matters, the interior minister added that India never wants Pakistan to have a good relationship with Afghanistan, adding that, “Indian spy agency Research Analyst Wing (RAW) has hired some Pakistanis to carryout terrorist activities in Pakistan."
Shedding light on negotiating with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), he said that government is "not in the process of holding a dialogue with TTP."
"Those who make strong demands and challenge the integrity of Pakistan, then the state will deal with them strictly," he added.
Rasheed further said that the government will not allow any kind of terrorism in the country, adding that the "Opposition is also standing with us on this serious matter."
"We want one narrative against terrorism," he added.
He also affirmed the government’s commitment to protecting the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), adding that, “Imran Khan’s government will fulfil its commitment on CPEC."
The government had arrested terrorists involved in Dasu and Gawadar attacks (in which Chinese employees had lost their lives), he said.