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‘Baseless Grievances’

by Newsweek Pakistan

Courtesy PID

Firdous Ashiq Awan dismisses Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s demands and urges him to proceed ‘peacefully’

Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s narrative is baseless and does not reflect reality, Special Assistant to the P.M. on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Thursday while addressing a joint press conference.

“[The] Maulana’s political narrative has no power. His grievances are baseless, emotional and have nothing to do with reality,” she said alongside Interior Minister Brig. (retd.) Ijaz Shah. “The protesters should not take any step that could threaten national security and the country’s image,” she added.

Shah said the government was doing its best to facilitate the marchers, adding that Islamabad was willing to allocate more space for them if they so desired. He claimed the government had provided the protesters—who he said numbered from 20,000 to 25,000—with water, electricity and traffic facilitation throughout their four-day march. “P.M. Imran Khan allowed the ‘Azadi March’ to take place so those who wanted to sow chaos would not succeed,” he added.

To questions about Maulana’s demand of P.M. Khan’s resignation, Shah said that would not even be considered.

Awan, meanwhile, cautioned the ‘Azadi March’ participants from hurting Pakistan’s standing in the international community. She said Islamabad was home to 7,000 diplomats, who connect Pakistan to the world, and they should not be subjected to any violent ‘adventure.’

The government has deployed around 6,000 police and paramilitary personnel at the protest venue to ensure security and prevent the protesters from entering parts of the federal capital not designated for their use.

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