The Shehbaz Sharif government is mulling a tough strategy to contain Imran Khan’s planned long march on Islamabad fearing it may turn out to be violent. He also hinted at taking action against Imran Khan for his ‘anti-army statements’.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif though did not clearly state that his government would not allow the march, but gave the impression that hard measures might be adopted to contain the march if it goes violent.
Speaking to a selected group of journalists and publishers in Lahore on Sunday, he said there was no need to allow such a long march which resulted in bloodshed. Moreover, the government wouldn’t allow any unlawful activity, as we have already seen the 2014 dharna’s consequences, which resulted in nothing except for damage to the economy. A similar view was adopted by Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb who said at the Lahore Press Club that in case the PTI’s planned long march on Islamabad led to bloodshed, the government would take measures to check it.
Other than Imran Khan’s march, the prime minister spoke about the ‘resistant’ actions by President Arif Alvi, calling them “unconstitutional”.
President Alvi refused to administer oath to the prime minister and his cabinet and now he has refused to remove Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema.
Criticizing the Imran Khan government, he said the PTI government completely failed in delivery, adding that Imran Khan was no more than a liar and incompetent man. He came hard on the subsidy on petroleum prices by the previous government, calling it a big loss to the nation and leading to an unbreakable net of debts.
“The government is reviewing policy for newspapers to increase rates for their advertisements and will clear print media dues as soon as possible and will make such a policy that payment should be made on time,” Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb added.
The prime minister had a long and busy day in the city. He inaugurated the Saleem Memorial Trust Hospital, constructed by businessman Shahzad Saleem, nephew of Mian Mansha, in the memory of his father. On the occasion, he appreciated the project of Rescue-1122 (Punjab Emergency Services Department), launched and completed in 2006 by former chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and urged business tycoon Mian Mansha to establish state-of-the-art hospitals with subsidized medical treatment for poor people in all four provinces.
He urged the political leadership to keep aside their ego, personal issues and differences in the development of the country.
Sharif also asked Mian Mansha to spare Rs4-6 billion for hospitals – one each in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Sindh and Balochistan.
“Sparing such an amount shouldn’t be a big issue for you. You can do it very easily. And I think if this money goes out of your bank account, you may not even notice it,” he said, addressing Mansha.