ISLAMABAD: The government is preparing to launch a selective crackdown against anti-government protesters trying to bring down the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Monday, warning demonstrators against storming government buildings.
Dashing chances of a peace deal between the government and protest leaders Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, protesters stormed the state television building and have also tried to march on Sharif’s residence in central Islamabad. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told Reuters in an interview at his house hours after the storming of the state television building the government would not hesitate to enforce its writ and was considering cracking down against those attacking state institutions.
“If not mass arrests, selective use of force can be used,” Asif said, describing one option the government may decide to exercise following a meeting between Sharif and his top aides. “The writ of the state must be enforced. We hope to make a decisive move sometimes later today, not in the evening but even before that,” he said. “I personally feel that the next few hours will determine the course of coming events.” Commentators have been divided over what Sharif could do to defuse the crisis, and Asif’s remarks confirmed that a crackdown was on the cards as the government debates its further actions.
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