ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali, in his first response to the PTI call for November 30 rally, asked the protesting party to clearly tell if the rally was to be a political gathering or an attempt to attack the government.

“The PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf) should clearly put its agenda of Nov 30 rally before the local administration of Islamabad and the nation, and tell if it was coming for a political gathering or for attacking the government,” the interior minister said at a press briefing here on Wednesday evening.

Nisar made it clear that if PTI was coming for a political rally, the government would provide security to it, but in the other case, law will come into action. There was a set procedure to hold a rally and the government had no objection to a political rally, he said.

He asserted that the PTI would have to take permission for its rally from local administration which would contact the political party in the next two days after the application to decide the venue of the rally.

The minister informed reporters that the army had been withdrawn from important and sensitive buildings of the capital but it could be redeployed on a short notice. “Requisition of army is an area that comes under the interior ministry and we have decided to withdraw it,” he said.

He said that the local administration in consultation with the PTI would ascertain the route of the rally and the latter would have to take responsibility to abide by the conditions set by the government. “After this, the local administration would decide the venue that would be the most suitable so that residents of Islamabad do not face any inconvenience,” he said.

Nisar warned if PTI came in the capital without permission, the government would not withdraw an inch from the legal course. “If anyone had suspicion on the writ of the government, it should recall the August 31 night and if anyone attacked, the police would ensure the security of the Red Zone in the same manner as it did on that night,” he reminded.

The minister said that the government would abide by the court orders and it had a court order that hurdles on the Constitution Avenue should not be created. “This drama of blackmailing the government should end,” he said. Pointing towards PTI sit-in, he said that there was a terrorism-like activity going on in the Red Zone.

Chaudhry Nisar condemned PTI Chairman Imran Khan for accusing people while standing on his container parked at the Parade Ground of the capital. He said people were being abused and insulting behaviour was shown to malign them. “Their agenda of revolution seems directed towards less revolution and more destruction,” he said, and questioned whether it was revolution to abuse people while standing on the container.

“You are maligning those people who have the courage to say the truth,” he said referring to Khan’s remarks against journalists. “He who differs with you, you call him thief and dacoit; he who differs with you within your party, you expel him from the party; he who differs with you, you call him anti-state element, “ he said. Nisar said the decision to declare any person thief could either be made by the people or the courts and no one else had the authority to do this.

The interior minister came down hard on the PTI and its chairman for what he called a parallel constitution of ‘Go Go’. “Should the people be held responsible for their actions under the prevalent laws or under the new tradition of ‘Go Go’,” he asked.

He said that the PTI chief told a lie to the nation that 24 people were killed on the night of August 31 when protesters had attacked state buildings. “Tell the names and provide identity card numbers of these persons,” the minister asked Imran Khan.

Nisar said that among the two people killed on that night, one was killed with 9mm bullet hit from below him and the other was fired from point blank range in the belly, while the “police was unarmed at that time”.

Nisar said the government was ready for fair investigations in all the incidents of the past with regard to protests and the Model Town incident. The government has showed restraint for the last three months. He said police had only stopped the attackers from storming the Parliament House and the PM House and used tear gas when they reached at the gates of these buildings.

Referring to the arrest warrants of Imran Khan and other leaders issued by an anti-terrorism court, the minister asked as to who introduced the tradition of warrants and reminded that cases of murder were registered against the prime minister and Punjab chief minister. “Now why are they crying?” he asked.

He said they had video evidence that attacks on the PTV building and the Parliament House as well as PM House was carried out on the instigation of chiefs of PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT). After Dr Tahirul Qadri ended the protest, there were only forty to fifty protesters of PTI left but the government did not react.

Responding a question, the minister said the government wanted to address reservations of PAT in connection with formation of JIT. He said the courts and police had to decide about arresting PTI leaders. The government would not negotiate with PTI in such atmosphere and talks would be held after November 30, he said. About another question, he said if any standing committee summoned him he would attend its meeting.