Jan 062018

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has expressed the fear that some elements are attempting to undo the democratic set-up of the country ahead of the Senate elections scheduled to be held in March.

Voicing his concerns during an interview with DawnNews on Saturday, Iqbal, without naming any institution, held "certain forces" responsible for the prevailing "uncertainty" and political crises in the country.

"There are some vibes that some forces are trying to wrap up the democratic set-up in the country before the Senate elections," he said.

He said that the country is facing threats now more than ever in its history.

"Unfortunately at a time when Pakistan is facing immense threats on the external front, the country's political dynamics are showing some very negative signs," he added.

"We are trying to make PPP and other political parties realise that we need unity against the external threats," the minister said adding that it was not the time for sit-ins.

The minister warned that politics of agitation and sit-ins would strengthen the agenda of US President Donald Trump against Pakistan.

Talking about the looming political crises in Balochistan where some lawmakers have launched a no-confidence drive against the provincial chief minister, Iqbal said resignations from Balochistan were rendered under duress.

Referring to his recent visit to the province, he claimed that lawmakers in Balochistan had informed him that they were being "pressurised".

"Whoever is doing this is not serving the country, it would weaken the country and strengthen Trump's agenda," he remarked.

He vowed that the ruling PML-N would play its due role against any attempt to undermine the democratic and constitutional set-up.

"There is a consensus in the parliament that the political system should continue," he said, warning that a third force might take advantage of the prevailing uncertainty in the political arena.

"Political powers should not be pushed against the wall," he said when asked about ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif's threat that he would lift the curtain on "what has been happening in Islamabad for the past four years".

"People wonder who is the force that makes" PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf head Imran Khan and Mustafa Kamal of Pak Sarzameen Party to share a table with Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri, he said.

"We are trying our best to maintain domestic harmony in the face of external threats," the minister said.

He claimed that the US President Trump's tweet, in which he accused Pakistan of giving Washington "nothing but lies and deceit", was linked with the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif.

"He [Nawaz Sharif] was punished for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and turning Pakistan around from a crisis-like situation," he said.

Turning his guns on Imran Khan, Iqbal said the PTI chief would be remembered as a "pawn in the hands of those wanted to destabilise the country".

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