Home Minister Sheikh Rasheed urges opposition to postpone long march

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid speaks in the Senate on January 24, 2022. – Radio Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed on Monday urged the opposition to postpone his long march which was due to take place on Pakistan Day (March 23), citing the terrorist threat.

Addressing a Senate session in Islamabad, the Rasheed said the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) could choose to continue its long march but would suggest postponing it.

He further added that he and Prime Minister Imran Khan love this country as much as the opposition, “but remember there is a terrorist threat on March 23.”

The minister said he was “not afraid of the long march of the PDM, but there were terrorist threats, adding that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto had also been ordered not to hold a procession in Rawalpindi for security reasons, but that she had done so despite warnings”.

He said that on March 23, foreign ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries will attend the Pakistan Day parade, therefore, “half of Islamabad will be under the control of [the government] and jammers will be installed there.”

“How the opposition [mark its influence] under such circumstances?” asks the minister.

Rasheed said he would suggest that “PDM show strength in Islamabad on March 17 or 27.”

“India never wants Pakistan to have good relations with Afghanistan”

Speaking on other issues, the Home Secretary added that India never wants Pakistan to have good relations with Afghanistan, adding that “India’s spy agency Research Analyst Wing (RAW) has hired Pakistanis to carry out terrorist activities in Pakistan”.

He added that the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) and Daesh are present in Balochistan.

“We want a discourse against terrorism”

Shedding light on negotiations with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), he said the government was “not engaging with the TTP”.

“Those who make strong demands and challenge the integrity of Pakistan, then the state will deal with them strictly,” he added.

Rasheed further said that the government would not allow any form of terrorism in the country, adding that “the opposition is also with us on this serious matter.”

“We want a narrative against terrorism,” he added.

He also affirmed the government’s commitment to protect the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), adding that “Imran Khan’s government will fulfill its commitment on CPEC.”

The government has arrested terrorists involved in the Dasu and Gawadar bombings (in which Chinese employees lost their lives), he said.

Betty K. Park