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Pakistan Ministry asks PTI to postpone Rawalpindi march over threats from Al-Qaeda, TTP

Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior cautioned Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Asad Umar on Wednesday about security threats against the party and its chief Imran Khan, and urged him to postpone public gatherings for the ongoing Haqeeqi Azadi March’, media reports said.

In a letter, the ministry requested that the security situation “prevailing in the country may be kept in view and the PTI leadership may consider the possibility of postponing public gatherings like the one planned in Rawalpindi on November 26 to avoid any untoward incident”, Express Tribune reported.

The ministry maintained that it has been “sharing threat alerts generated by credible intelligence sources to the life” of PTI chief Imran Khan by “anti-state elements” that want to destabilise the country, the report said.

It added that the attack in Wazirabad, where Khan was injured, had highlighted the importance of taking the threat alerts seriously, “particularly in the context of the resumption of the march and its culmination in Rawalpindi”.

According to the letter, in view of the threats, the government has provided a bulletproof vehicle and deployed police and civil armed forces for Khan’s stay in Islamabad. However, the party chief is presently in Lahore while the participants of the march have moved to Rawat.

The ministry expects the provincial government of Punjab to take all necessary measures for security arrangements in their jurisdiction for the protection of Khan as well as the participants of the march.

“Anti-state elements like Al-Qaeda/Daesh, TTP, and radicalised youth of TLP can take advantage of soft targets like public gatherings to destabilise the country through suicide attacks, IEDs (improvised explosive devise), etc.,” it warned, Express Tribune reported.

The ministry’s notice to Asad Umar stated that “in view of the gravity of the security threat, the need to exercise maximum caution can hardly be overemphasised”.

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