Govt plans to ‘defuse’ Imran’s million march

* Pervaiz Rashid says central ceremony to mark Independence Day will be held at D-Chowk * All political leadership including Imran Khan to be invited

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid has said that this year’s Independence Day will be marked by a central ceremony at D Chowk in the federal capital to tell the world that the nation is united under one flag.
“Only national flag will flutter high on the 14th of August and that all other flags will be at half-mast as all political leadership will be invited to the national ceremony to mark solidarity, unity and oneness,” he said while talking to the press on Saturday.
The information minister said that the whole nation would sing the national anthem together on August 14, adding that all would be free afterwards to follow their heart’s desire.
Regarding Imran Khan’s call for the August 14 rally in Islamabad’s D Chowk, Pervaiz said that Imran Khan should not send a message on the Independence Day that the political leadership was divided at a time when the country’s valiant Armed Forces were busy in an operation in North Waziristan Agency for the security of the country and a message of unity must be sent to all and sundry.
“Imran Khan should not weaken Pakistan’s bunkers within Pakistan as the politics of street may lead to instability and be beneficial to terrorists,” Pervaiz stressed.
Regarding Musharraf’s exit deal, the minister said that the PML-N leadership never conceded to the PPP’s demand of granting indemnity to a former dictator and that it had never been a part of any deal.
“We have not greeted Musharraf in his medicine of violence, like handcuffs and forced exile as he forced Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to exile twice,” the minister said.
Pervaiz said that lawlessness had been the rule in the dictatorial regimes while the law takes its due course in a democracy, adding that courts would decide Musharraf’s fate. To a query, he said that Arslan Iftikhar was daggers drawn with the PTI chairman after Imran’s provocative speech against his father and former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in Bahawalpur. “There is always an Arslan Iftikhar for every Imran Khan in the world,” he added.
To a question, the information minister said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province was awarded 1 percent more funds under the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award for being hit by war against terrorism, adding that it would get Rs 22 billion extra under the NFC Award and this amount should be used by the provincial government to arrange food and shelter for the IDPs.     
He said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government should also account for Rs 80 billion paid by the federal government under the NFC Award for the same purpose during the past four years.
To a query regarding consultation with politicians, the information minister said that the enactment of the Protection of Pakistan Act was made possible only through consultation with all political parties and that the government had no inhibition to contact any political party in the larger interest of the country, adding that its doors were always open for all political forces.
To a question, he said that Pakistan Army had been playing its due rule for ensuring peace and stability, adding that the Armed Forces and democratic institutions have been helping out the IDPs. He said that mischief-makers against the forces would lick the dust, adding that grant of powers to the Armed Forces was in line with the constitution of the country and an all-out resources and legal umbrella would be provided to Armed forces.
Regarding Dr Tahirul Qadri’s plans, the minister said that Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief was known for his political somersaults.

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