Irked by the opposition’s multi-party alliance protest date, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on Wednesday said the government is not threatened by them and they should come out on March 23 to face “humiliation and disgrace”.
Addressing a ceremony in Rawalpindi, he said, “Since the one month, I have kept on asking the opposition to delay their protest date of March  as Organisation of Islamic Cooperation delegates and other leaders are coming on Pakistan Day.”
Pakistan Democratic Movement head Maulana Fazlur Rehman on January 25 told reporters the “anti-inflation” march to the federal capital would go ahead as planned on March 23. The military parade would be done by zuhr (afternoon prayer) and the PDM marchers would arrive after that, he added.
The interior minister was of the view that the protest would be another political defeat of the opposition after consecutive defeats in parliament. “[Come] if you want to angry [foreign delegates] them for your personal politics. I did not ask you [opposition] to come after four days because of personal choice,” he said, adding that the Saudi Arabia foreign minister was coming on March 7 for his meeting with the kingdom’s ambassador.
He reiterated his call that the government would create no problem for the opposition until it creates a problem for the law. Rashid said, “I want to tell the opposition that I am not giving them any threats or saying it irresponsibly, March 23 is very sensitive. Main streets will be closed and possibly cellular services will also be shut for the day.”
He further asked the PDM’s agenda for taking to the streets and lamented the JUI-F leader’s “irresponsible words” for the premier. First, the opposition called for en masse resignations from assemblies then they raised their voices for the no-confidence move, all such moves were failed, he added.
“Fazl should thank media for keeping him alive, the nation would have forgotten his name if there was no media,” the interior minister said, adding that the government was fortunate to have an “unworthy opposition.”
Rashid quoted a statement made by PM Imran during a live question and answer session recently, “dread the day I turn to the streets.” He was of the view that the premier would be “very dangerous” if such a development took place.
He also lamented the opposition’s criticism over the government’s handling of the Murree tourist tragedy. However, he stressed the need for a set-up to support the country’s developing tourism sector.
To a question, he said PM Imran would undertake an “important visit” to China on February 3 that would bring positive results.
Rashid in his speech had also said that the government has installed the Integrated Border Management System at the Torkham border. Earlier such a machine was installed at the Chaman border.