Dictation from any party or group indigestible: Fawad Chaudhry

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ISLAMABAD: The federal government said on Tuesday that it can not be dictated by any party or group and approved the deployment of Rangers in Punjab cities to maintain law and order amid protests by a religious party. Briefing the media in Islamabad after attending the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said dictation to government from any party or group was indigestible. The science and technology minister was responding to media queries about the protests by a religious party that has crippled life in major cities and claimed the lives of three, including two policemen. Nearly 100 policemen have also been injured in clashes with the protesters. He said a party or group could present their demands in a democratic way upon which negotiations could be held, but decision-making could not be left to any party or group. When his attention was drawn towards violence and agitation in various parts of Pakistan, the federal minister emphasised that things would be fine soon. “No group or party must even think of dictating the government or the state. If a state allows this, then it will disintegrate and there will be chaos,” he said. He said any student group, lawyers’ body or religious group could present their demands and there could be talks in a democratic manner, but there was no room for dictation to the government or state. The government, he said, wanted peace and tranquillity and did not want disturbance of law and order. He said it was highly improper to hinder the movement of oxygen cylinders, as already around 4,100 coronavirus patients needed extreme care. “Special arrangements are being made for smooth transportation of cylinders. Pakistan is the fifth-largest state and we cannot leave it to groups or parties to dictate their decisions,” he said. Chaudhry added that the cabinet has approved the deployment of Rangers in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Jhelum and Bahawalpur for maintenance of law and order. Meanwhile, talking to reporters after attending the federal cabinet meeting, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the cabinet had reviewed the political and law and order situation in the country. He said no decision had been taken about anyone’s release. He dismissed reports of violence and assured that all will be well soon. He said the government had decided to take strict action against the law breakers and to reopen several roads, entry and exit points that were closed due to protests. On the other hand, a meeting chaired by Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat decided to deploy Rangers personnel along with the police at 16 points in Lahore. The minister said assistance from the Pakistan Army could be sought if the situation worsened. He warned that no one would be allowed to take the law into their own hands and directed the officials to immediately arrest law breakers and file cases against them.

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