PPP leaves Fazl high and dry


–Bilawal says PPP won’t attend Fazl’s ‘Azadi March’ as it doesn’t believe in ‘dharna’ politics

–PML-N yet to choose sides as CWC would announce decision on 23rd


ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s political ambitions suffered a major blow on Wednesday when Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari announced that his party would not participate in the ‘Islamabad lockdown’ to dislodge Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government.

Speaking to the media in Jamshoro, Bilawal said that his party has never been part of ‘dharna politics’, therefore, it would not attend the march but would provide moral support to the protesters.

Speaking about the performance of the government, he said the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was conducting economic murder of masses.

He criticised the federal government for not being honest with the clean Karachi campaign, as “the garbage was lifted from one area and thrown in another”.

Bilawal also demanded to become a part of the National Finance Committee (NFC) to resolve the issues of the people. “We are not afraid of arrests and will bear every form of oppression for the sake of our people,” he added.

Talking about the Kashmir issue, Bilawal said that no bargaining on the issue would be accepted and “selected” leaders are continuously making mistakes on the matter. “The government has adopted an undemocratic attitude on the matter but the masses would not accept any mistakes on the Kashmir issue,” he added.

He said that his grandfather and PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had said that he could not even make a mistake on Kashmir even in his sleep. “If our party was in power, the premier would have been concerned with the issues of the Pakistanis and would have raised voice for Kashmiris across the world,” he added.

“India conducted a historic attack on the valley while the premier is taking U-turn on every declaration,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) also appears to be cautious in fully backing the march.

PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said that the party’s Central Working Committee (CWC) would take a decision on September 23.

“We have summoned the party’s CWC meeting on September 23 to take a decision over the march. We will pass on the directions received from the party chief,” he said.

When asked whether there were any decisions taken at the Rehbar Committee meetings held earlier, Iqbal said that the strategy is to be evolved by the CWC.

“JUI-F leadership has yet to share details of their planned march with us. So, we are waiting for those details, after which the CWC would take a final decision,” he said.

When asked whether the CWC would review former premier Nawaz Sharif’s directives to the party leaders to join the march, Iqbal said that the party leaders’ directions would be passed on to the CWC which would take the final decision.

It is pertinent to mention here that normally PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif take final decisions regarding the party’s politics and CWC merely acts as a silent spectator.

Responding to Bilawal’s decision to stay away from the march, Iqbal said that the PPP had also communicated its reluctance to join the Azadi March during the Rehbar Committee meeting.

On September 1, Fazl said that the deadline for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation had ended on August 31 and he must prepare to face JUI-F’s ‘Azadi March’ in October.

Speaking to the media, the JUI-F chief had said that he would launch an ‘Azadi March’ towards Islamabad to oust the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. “I had given you the deadline of August 31 but you did not step down voluntarily. Now prepare for a lockdown in October,” he had said.

When asked whether he would proceed with the march if the country was in a war-like situation, Fazl had replied in the affirmative, saying he would still ensure a lockdown of the federal capital.

“Even if we face war, we will not cancel the march, rather we will mobilise the public towards war against India,” he had said, adding that despite the odds, he was certain that there would be no war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

On July 28, speaking at a ‘million march’ rally organised by the party in Quetta, the JUI-F chief had said that asked the premier to resign, warning that the failure to do so would result in the entire country marching towards Islamabad in October.

“We want to clarify that the drums of war have already been beaten as a message to such forces, such international agents, the representatives of global powers, and the false leaders who have forced their way into power,” he had said.

“I want to highlight that the Quetta million march is our last million march and now our next step will be taken in Islamabad,” he had added.

The JUI-F chief, directly addressing the government, had said that in the first phase of their plan, a chance was being given to the government to resign by August “to save themselves from the Islamabad march”.

“If you do not resign by August, you will find us in Islamabad by October,” he had vowed.

The JUI-F chief had emphasised that since the joint stance by of the opposition is that the elections were rigged, new elections must take place. He had said that the same had been discussed in the recently-held All Parties Conference (APC).

A number of APC had taken place this year where multiple decisions pertaining to the opposition’s joint strategy were taken. However, differences emerged between the opposition when their bid to oust Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani failed as the latter survived the vote of no-confidence.