Pakistan Govt may Call in Army in Islamabad to deal with Opposition's Protest March, Says Report

Pakistan Govt may Call in Army in Islamabad to deal with Opposition's Protest March, Says Report

Islamabad: Pakistan government may call in army troops in Islamabad to counter a protest march called by Opposition parties to "topple" the Imran Khan government, accusing it of coming into power through rigged elections, according to a media report.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam's (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazl has announced that he will march in Islamabad on October 31 against the government. All major Opposition parties, including PML-N, PPP, ANP and PkMAP have announced their support for the 'Azadi March'.

The Express Tribune reported that the government is devising its strategy to deal with the protest march and is weighing the option of calling in armed forces in the capital.

A meeting held at Prime Minister Imran Khan's residence here on law and order situation discussed different options to counter the march, the daily said.

The daily quoting its sources said that in the meeting the participants agreed that peaceful protest is everyone's right but no one can be allowed to besiege Islamabad.

The meeting also discussed security of sensitive government buildings and foreign embassies.

It decided that the government will hold talks with all Opposition parties including Fazl. If the talks fail, army troops will be deployed to protect the government buildings and important installations.

However, the Ministry of Interior will make the final decision if the armed forces are to be called, the report said.

Army troops were also called during Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) 2014 and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan's (TLP) November 2017 sit-ins. According to Article 245 of Pakistan's Constitution, acts of armed forces cannot be challenged in court when they are called in to support the civil administration.

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