ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad warned an opposition alliance in the country on Wednesday its anti-government campaign would only result in its political humiliation, saying its leaders had no reason to initiate the protest.
The opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance announced on Tuesday it would hold an anti-government rally that would culminate in Islamabad on March 23.
The rally coincides with Pakistan Day which is annually commemorated since the founding fathers of the country adopted a resolution demanding a separate homeland for the Muslims of Subcontinent on March 23, 1940.
“The democratic way for the opposition alliance is to display its political strength in parliament,” the minister told a gathering in Rawalpindi. “You [the opposition parties] have chosen to be on the streets which will only result in your humiliation.”
“Why are you coming here? There should be a reason [for the protest], an agenda. If it were not for the media, the nation would even forget your names,” he lashed out.
Rashid said March 23 was “a very sensitive day,” adding that Islamabad’s main routes would be blocked and there would possibly be no cellphone service due to stringent security measures.
Pakistan is scheduled to host a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Council of Foreign Ministers in its federal capital on March 22 and has invited the delegates to attend its annual Pakistan Day parade as state guests the next day.
“You [the PDM members] are about to annoy the representatives of various Muslim countries [with the protest]. Do not think that the people are not aware of your intentions,” he continued, adding: “We will see where you stand after one and a half years [during the general elections in 2023].”