Democracy inter-linked with security: Pervaiz Rashid

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Senator Pervaiz Rashid on Saturday said that the democracy was inter-linked with security in the present scenario.He said on Saturday that National Security meeting was not aimed for a strategy to tackle Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI’s) long march or Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) protesters. Military Operations DG Major General, Amir Riaz briefed political leadership about their questions that were responded by COAS General Raheel Sharif satisfying the political leaders.“The meeting was convened after requests of political parties’ leaders for a briefing on the operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan,” he said, adding, “It was all the more necessary for Imran Khan to attend the conference if he smelled something wrong; as questions arise PTI’s non-attendance but no one can question the Conference.He rejected Imran’s allegations that the prime minister had politicised the Conference. The minister was of the view that there was no parallel in the past the way all the political leaders sat together.He said, “There is no harm or shame showing flexibility to avoid making the Independence Day controversial for country’s unity and solidarity’s sake, adding that the conference could not take place earlier as the army chief was on a visit to Australia.CM Punjab could not attend the conference due to bad weather and CM KP did not attend due to instructions from Imran Khan despite the fact that the issue under discussion was directly related to KP. He said that the government had no ego problems and was ready to negotiate with the PTI chief for sake of citizen’s smiles on the Independence Day.The prime minister was noted for formulating strategies through consensus that pay off as people celebrated Eid peacefully after many years.Responding to a question, the minister said that the government wanted to hoist the flag of independence while Imran Khan wanted to hoist the flag of agitation on August 14. He said that if Imran Khan had any reservations, he should have participated in the conference for their solutions. At the end of the conference, the prime minister thanked the political leadership for squeezing time and presenting proposals in connection with the agenda of the Conference. “Imran Khan had demanded to open up four constituencies earlier but he jumped to 10 constituencies now,” Pervez Rashid said. Pervaiz Rashid said that the country was in dire need of national unity, integrity and stabilisation, adding, “We are even ready to talk on ten constituencies to stop agitation and protest that is harmful for the country”. He termed demands of re-counting or re-election from the government unconstitutional and undemocratic, as this was the election tribunals’ job.The minister said that PTI should inform Islamabad administration about its long march plan of the time of arrival, number of people and the designated area of their sit-in for making security arrangements and added that the government would then decide to allow them or not. He said that it was beyond understanding why PTI refused to attend the conference because the conference was related to security, law and order and issues of national interest. He was of the view that it was a good opportunity for Imran Khan to come up with his reservations.About deaths of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers in Lahore and other parts of Punjab, the minister said that Qadri was “a habitual liar” and incited his workers on agitation and chaos as no death has occurred anywhere. Instead, the PAT workers have subjected police to torture. He rejected reports of any PAT workers killed in clashes with police in Punjab and described it as propaganda.Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid has expressed confidence that PTI leader Imran Khan would respond with similar spirit to flexibility demonstrated by PML-N on the issue of recounting in constituencies. After attending National Security Conference in Islamabad, the Minister said that by agreeing to the demand of the PTI leader, the PML-N sacrificed its constitutional, legal and moral rights on the issue. He hoped PTI would allow people to celebrate Independence Day with joy and peace of mind.“The Government is showing flexibility and stepping back for the sake of solidarity and unity of the country. In recounting four constituencies, the election against Jehangir Tareen was not won by PML-N, which stood third, but an independent candidate. In two of the three remaining constituencies, the Election Tribunals already ordered recounting demanded and both parties have gone in appeal to the high court,” he said, adding that PTI’s demand for recounting 10 constituencies was conveyed through JI leader Sirajul Haq and the government responded in a positive manner without delay informing other political leaders about the demand. Senator Pervaiz Rashid said, “If Tahirul Qadri retracts his provocative statements mounting to inciting his workers on violence then the government can reciprocate similar flexibility for Pakistan Awami Tehreek.”

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