PTI’s long march failed to win people’s support: Rana Sana

PTI’s long march failed to win people’s support: Rana Sana

ISLAMABAD, May 25 (APP): Minister for Interior Rana Sana Ullah Khan on Wednesday said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) long march towards Islamabad failed to win the masses’ support as only a small number of people had come out on its appeal.

“I’m thankful to the masses for rejecting Imran Khan’s violent long march. Since morning only a few hundred people have come out on his [Imran Khan’s] call,” the minister told a news conference along with Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb.

He said the PTI chief had made tall claims of congregating two million people in the Federal Capital, but ironically he was marching with a crowd of around five to six thousand people from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“The PTI portrayed a picture of huge crowd coming towards Islamabad, and we planned accordingly. Had we known it would be a small crowd we would not have made preparations on such a large scale.

“We halted the Metro Bus operations and postponed the examinations, while commuters faced problems and patients also suffered. I apologize to the people on behalf of the government for the troubles,” he added.

Rana Sana Ullah said he was aware of the problems suffered by the citizens due to the closure of roads in Punjab, but the measures were taken in the national interest and aimed at protecting the life and property.

He said the situation in Punjab had settled down and there was complete peace in the province at the moment. He lauded the people of Punjab for not becoming part of the violent long march. Similarly, the people of Balochistan also deserved congratulations as they even did know about Imran Khan’s march. “In Sindh too, the people refused to support him,” he added.

“It is only in Khyber Pakthunkhwa where some activity took place. As the PTI is in power there, they’ve utilized the entire government resources. They are using cranes, weapons, and other means to make their long march successful.

“But there they’ve failed to gather a reasonable crowd. Half of the crowd that assembled at the Swabi Interchange moved back after Imran Khan’s speech,” he added.

The minister said only a few thousand people from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were part of the long march. The march was an unconstitutional act as Imran Khan was trying to instigate a civil war. “The PTI will have to face the consequences for the unconstitutional acts,” he warned

He said arrangements were in place to handle the crowd, marching towards Islamabad from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under Imran Khan’s leadership. “Hopefully, this matter will also be resolved in the next few hours,” he added.

Rana Sana said the people wanted Pakistan to move forward that was why they preferred to stay away from the march. “I’m thankful to the people for staying at homes instead of joining the march. I’m also thankful to the media for playing a positive role in the ongoing situation,” he added.

To a question, he said the Supreme Court had directed the government to form a negotiating team for talks with the PTI. The government would follow the apex court’s directions in letter and spirit, he added.

“The PTI has formed a four-member committee, led by Babar Awan and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has appointed a team, but I’m not part of that.

“But as of now, no talks are going on with the PTI and no agreement has been reached upon,” he added.

He said the PTI could hold public meetings but no one would be allowed to create chaos and unrest. He said around 4,414 raids had been carried out and about 1,724 individuals were arrested. “Out of these around 240 people were released after signing an affidavit, assuring that they’ve nothing to do with the long march,” he added.

He said some people were detained under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) ordinance. No arrests were made in Balochistan and Sindh, he added.

To a question, the minister said some PTI leaders were offering themselves for arrest as they wanted to earn respect in their party in that way.