ISLAMABAD Federal Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, while commenting on the recent arrests of various leaders of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), said that those who break the country’s laws will be punished accordingly.
In an interview with BBC Urdu, Shah said: “They are Pakistani citizens. They have violated the law of the country, and they were arrested.”
“As far as the Pashtuns are concerned, they stand with this government,” he said. “The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf has a two-thirds majority in KP. Imran Khan is more popular in tribal and Pashtun areas than he is in his own district.
“No other political leader has done what Imran Khan has done for the merger of tribal districts and for bringing the Pashtun into the mainstream. So then who is their leader, Pashteen or Imran,” he questioned.
The interior minister maintained that those who violate the country’s law will be arrested.
“It is the prime minister’s stance, that if you wish to resolve issues, you should come to the table. Nothing can be solved by fighting and going to war. This holds true for the entire nation including tribal areas,” he said.
However, when questioned why there was a need for the PTM to come to the table when they stage peaceful protests and there have been reports of ongoing talks between the group and the government, the minister said: “Talks with them are also being conducted on the table.
“I am talking to you right now. But if you go and say, kill someone or perhaps commit a crime, does that mean that no action will be taken against you?
“Law enforcement agencies have their own task. If they are committing a crime they will be punished for it,” he maintained.
Shah clarified that he did not mean to insinuate that Pashteen had killed someone. “I am merely giving an example.”
“There is a case registered against Pashteen in Dera Ismail Khan on the basis of which he was arrested. Yesterday or the day before, an MNA from his party, a very good person, was using foul language against the country and state institutions and he has been caught.
“Whatever their reasons for protesting, there is a civilised way to protest. They were protesting in the wrong way. The courts are independent, and they will decide the cases.”
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