Army not behind anti-Sharif protest, says Pakistan minister

Islamabad, Aug 19:

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Tuesday evening dismissed speculations that the Pakistan Army was behind the ongoing protest demanding the prime minister’s resignation.

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Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) chief Imran Khan is staging a protest here to demand Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation.

Imran Khan claimed that the 2013 elections were rigged and that Sharif has a “fake mandate”.

He also demanded that fresh elections be held.

Imran Khan said he would lead his protest march Tuesday into Islamabad’s Red Zone which houses the Supreme Court, Parliament House, prime ministerial and presidential offices, to demand Nawaz Sharif’s resignation.

“I want to say this with full responsibility, the Pakistan Army is not behind this game,” Dawn online quoted the interior minister as saying.

The minister said at a press conference that after meeting with the armed forces and the law enforcing agencies for hours, it has been decided that security of the federal capital will be divided into three tiers.

“The army will firstly guard vital installations, and other than that there will be deployment that I will not explain in detail,” he said.

The minister also lashed out at Imran Khan for not honouring his promise to stay out of the federal capital’s Red Zone area.

He added that Imran Khan sent a personal message via text to him and gave word that he would not move into the Red Zone.

“In response, I said without a moment’s hesitation and without consulting anybody that I will give this permission at once… your word is enough for me,” the minister said.


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