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July 14, 2014
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Govt asks Imran to change date, venue of long march

July 14, 2014

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LAHORE: Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique on Sunday suggested the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to change the date and venue of his long march and refrain from converting the Independence Day to a protest day. But the PTI remained adamant not to change the date and venue of its long march.
Addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Sunday, Saad Rafique said that the PTI had some popular support, which also called for responsibility to play a positive part in national affairs. He said there would be enough time for every party to pursue its political agenda and take up its issues with the government after August 14. “However, it would send a very negative message nationally and internationally if the leaders of Pakistan cannot unite and paint a picture of national unity and pride on the Independence Day,” he added.
He said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan had gone to enjoy holidays in London and he would be contacted on his return to Pakistan.He said that the Government of Pakistan intended to celebrate August 14 with full zeal and zest. “That is why Mian Nawaz Sharif has invited all leaders of political parties to join celebrations at D Chowk, Islamabad. This effort of the government should not be seen with scepticism and should be taken as an opportunity to express solidarity with the armed forces who are sacrificing their lives for the security and safe future of the country,” he added.
He said the invitation by the government was not aimed to sabotage the political right of any political party to hold a rally, but was a progressive step.To a question if the government intended to block the ‘long march’, he said that it was the domain of the home department and the interior ministry to see if the rally would pose a security threat to its participants and the final decision rested with them.
Saad Rafique said the time called for unity and waving the national flag instead of waving and

marching under party flags. Answering a question on extended loadshedding hours, he said that power production was not the only issue. He said the government was working on power generation but the old transmission system was among the major reasons for power disruptions in the country.
He also added that the PML-N government had restored more hours for the industry to resolve the unemployment issue. Saad criticised the PML-Q leadership and said they only knew how to conspire and employ hypocritical politics.
He advised Tahirul Qadri to stay away from the Chaudhry brothers or his political future would be doomed like theirs.The federal minister also used strong words for Sheikh Rasheed, saying that he was the “Bee Jamalo” of politics and knew nothing but low-level political gimmickry, therefore, anyone who decided to side with him should know that they were headed to a dead end in politics.
Saad Rafiq said the government was fully behind the army in the war against terrorism and said if anybody took an extra constitutional step, he would get punishment. He said in the case of Musharraf, the PML-N saved politics and not the government.
To another question, he said that the PML-N had no need to instigate Arsalan Iftikhar and emphasised that there was no alternative to Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the PML-N.
He admitted that he had good relations with Dr Tahirul Qadri in the past. However, he said, Dr Qadri now speaks foul instead of following the law and the Constitution. He said instead of all these things, Dr Qadri is still a Pakistani and talks could be held with him in the future.
INP adds: Senior Vice Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that no hurdle could stop his party’s “Azadi March” towards the federal capital on the Day of Independence.
Talking to media persons here on Sunday, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the date and venue of the Independence Day could not be changed and supporters of the PTI will reach Islamabad on August 14, crossing barricades and obstacles erected by the government. “No power can stop them from participating in the million march,” he added.
He said that the PTI will hold a peaceful protest and it will remain peaceful till the time the government created hurdles or tried to stop the party activists, which can lead to clashes between activists of the ruling party and the protesters.
Qureshi said that Chairman PTI Imran Khan had invited all the political parties to make the march successful and his party leaders were contacting leaders of the opposition parties to achieve the goals of the march.
The PTI protests have always remained peaceful throughout its history and it will tend to conduct the August 14 march also in a peaceful manner.
Responding a question, the PTI’s vice chairman said that it was the responsibility of the government to maintain the law and order situation while chaos often results due to its failure to tackle the situation.

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