Pakistan Interior minister warns Opposition against disrupting OIC conference
Pakistan's Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on Sunday warned the opposition leaders not to disrupt the OIC meeting here as he termed it a matter of national security, amid opposition threat to block the high-profile conference.
"I declare here that no one can dare to create any sort of hurdle in the holding of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference because it is an issue of security of Pakistan, Rashid said at a press conference.
The minister asserted that up to 15,000 security personnel of police and the paramilitary forces would be deployed to provide security to the delegates of Muslim countries coming to participate in the conference.
The two-day event at the Parliament will have representatives of more than 50 countries in attendance.
"Those due to attend the conference are our guests and the Pakistan Army has taken up the task of providing security to them, he said earlier, adding that the government would take care of the opposition with ease and no one could dare create an obstacle in the way of the meeting.
Initially, the opposition had threatened to stage a sit-in if the national assembly session was not called on time to take up a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan. However, the joint opposition toned down its stance on Sunday stressing that Pakistan's political turmoil will not be allowed to affect the event in any way.
"The Opposition pledges to do its utmost to create an atmosphere in which the distinguished guests will be able to carry out their activities with full attention, dedication and determination, said a joint statement issued by opposition parties.
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Sunday announced to convene the assembly session on March 25 to take up the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Khan.
Around 100 lawmakers from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) submitted the no-confidence motion before the National Assembly Secretariat on March 8, alleging that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government led by Prime Minister Khan was responsible for the economic crisis and the spiralling inflation in the country.
Opposition leaders threat to disrupt the OIC meeting created panic among the Islamabad-based ambassadors of the Muslim countries, according to Rashid.
"I received calls from at least 22 ambassadors and I told everyone that come what may the conference would be held as per schedule, he said at the press conference.
The OIC is a 57-member grouping of Muslim majority nations, including Pakistan.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said the OIC session will coincide with 75th anniversary celebrations of Pakistan's Independence Day.
The 48th summit of the OIC-CFM will be held on March 22 and 23 under the theme: "Building Partnerships for Unity, Justice, and Development."