PML-N wants Fazl to postpone ‘Azadi March’ till Nov


–Ahsan Iqbal says CEC thinks protests should be postponed to ‘fully mobilise people’

–Says govt’s Kashmir policy has failed as it lacks practical action


ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has formed a committee to hold consultations with other opposition parties to devise a strategy for upcoming protests, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) ‘Azadi March’, which it wants postponed till November for “better mobilisation”.

Speaking to the media after the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting on Monday, PML-N senior leader Ahsan Iqbal said that although his party had agreed to join the anti-government protests, it wants to discuss the modalities in an All Parties Conference (APC).

He said that Monday’s CEC meeting had also agreed that protests must be deferred until November so that people can be “fully mobilised” for the protests. The party has also formed divisional committees to speed-up mobilisation efforts, he added.

The former interior minister said that it is important to pave way for an early general election as it is the only way to steer the country out of crisis. “People are suffering due to dengue epidemic and the incumbent government has rolled back all development projects of PML-N,” he added.

Talking about the CEC meeting, he said that the party had discussed the political situation of the country and had expressed solidarity with Kashmiris. “The party also analysed the address of Prime Minister Imran Khan at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA),” he said.

The PML-N leader said that the government’s strategy on Kashmir had failed. “In the first 50 days of the curfew in the occupied territory, nobody, not even the foreign minister visited other countries to garner support of the international community,” he said.

“The government had been assured of support of 58 countries but it could not even gather 16 votes. This makes us believe that the government lacks practical action and is only active on Twitter,” he added.

It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will meet Shehbaz Sharif at his residence on Tuesday.

Last month, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had announced that his party had planned a “decisive” long march aimed at ousting the present government in October.

He had warned the government against making any effort to disrupt the planned march and expressed hope that people “from all walks of life and from all over the country” will reach Islamabad to participate in what he called an “Azadi March” to free the country of the present “incompetent and illegitimate government”.

On September 17, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, during his meeting with his younger brother and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, had also directed his party to fully support the ‘Azadi March’.

On September 15, Shehbaz had held a meeting with Fazl, during which he expressed his party’s support for JUI-F’s plan to lockdown Islamabad. However, Shehbaz had said that a final decision would be taken by the PML-N in its CEC meeting.