ISLAMABAD: In a bid to vindicate the government’s move to strike a deal with the protesters of a religious group to bring an end to their nearly three-week-old sit-in on the outskirts of the capital, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said had it not been for the agreement, riots would have erupted in the country.
In a statement on his Twitter account, the minister, who is at the receiving end of criticism for caving in to the protesters’ demands, said the agreement was not desirable but there was little choice because if the situation had persisted for another 24 hours, riots would have erupted.
He further said that civil and military leadership acted collectively to save the country from threat of religion-based violence. “We must heal wounds to unite the nation,” he added.
A day earlier, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif chaired an informal consultative meeting of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leaders at the Punjab House, where they discussed the aftermath of the Faizabad operation, negotiations with the protesters and Law Minister Zahid Hamid’s resignation.
Sources within the PML-N circles said that Sharif expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the interior minister, saying taht the protest was mishandled.
They said though the interior minister tried to convince the party supremo, the latter did not seem to be buying it.
The participants of the meeting were of the view that the resignation of the law minister had reflected badly on the government and the minister shouldn’t have resigned.
They observed that other parliamentary parties were also part of the legislation with regard to the Khatm Nabuwwat oath for electoral candidates, but they did politics over the issue, leaving the government to fend for itself.