–JUI-F chief says party in touch with Opp parties, decisions taken after consultation
–JUI-F lawmakers seek meeting with Nawaz Sharif at Kot Lakhpat to deliver chief’s ‘special message’
ISLAMABAD: Despite a request by his allies to defer the ‘Azadi March’ till November, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman on Thursday said his party will begin its anti-government movement on October 27.
The JUI-F is not taking a solo flight, said Fazl, clarifying the party was “in touch with all the other parties and making decisions in consultation with them”.
A day earlier, he said he will consult his party’s central executive committee to review the decision to hold the march in October instead after a visiting Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) delegation urged him for postponement of the event.
After a “fruitful” meeting with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Wednesday, he said he met Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari earlier in the day and that some very “positive developments took place during our meeting”.
He, however, failed to give a clear answer on whether the major opposition parties will join his march on Islamabad.
“The entire country is showing up. The trader community will be there. Doctors, lawyers are coming. We are in direct contact with people from all walks of life. I can speak for the readiness all these people have shown.”
A reporter then pressed the JUI-F chief for whether the above-mentioned people will include representatives from PPP and PML-N, to which he said, “InshaAllah“.
The march will initiate on Oct 27 — observed as Black Day across the world marking Kashmiris’ sufferings.
During the central executive committee of the party, it was decided to start the long march towards the federal capital on this day as a token of complete solidarity with the Kashmiri people, added the JUI-F chief.
“This will be an Azadi march. Groups of people from all over the country will embark on this journey which will culminate in Islamabad, where we will send the government packing,” he said.
“We will gather at D-Chowk,” he said, adding, “We are not ones to disperse easily.”
He said the JUI-F and its allies will send this government home as it is “the result of a fake election and fake results”.
The JUI-F chief said that all opposition parties had rejected the July 25, 2018 elections and had called for fresh elections.
“As a result of this illegal government and its incompetencies, the country’s economy has sunk […] traders have shut down businesses as a result of heavy taxation. The Muslims are in anguish over the state of religion in the country,” he continued, alluding to the party’s use of religion card against the Imran government.
It may be noted here that the PPP had expressed reservations over the method — the use of religion– employed by Fazl for the imminent march against the government.
A statement issued by the PPP said that party chairman, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, has “welcomed the announcement of [a] march by Maulana Fazlur Rehman towards Islamabad on the 27th”.
“It was agreed upon in principle between both leaders that the PTI government’s failure in addressing core issues confronting the nation have left the opposition with no choice but to take to streets,” said Bilawal’s spokesperson Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar in the statement.
According to the statement, Bilawal has convened a meeting of the PPP core committee next week in Islamabad, during which “the extent to which and modalities of how PPP can support the march” will be worked out.
The PML-N is also expected to issue a statement on the matter soon.
Meanwhile, to convince the PML-N, JUI-F leaders have requested Punjab Home Department for permission to meet former premier Nawaz Sharif at Kot Lakhpat jail on Thursday.
The letter, dated Oct 2, was written by JUI-F Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidari, parliamentary leader Maulana Asadur Rehman and the parliamentary leader in the KP Assembly Muhammad Akram Khan Durrani.
However, the home department has not responded to the request so far.
According to a party spokesperson, if the meeting takes place, the leaders will inquire after Sharif’s health and will also deliver party Fazal’s “special message”. Nawaz is currently serving his sentence in Kot Lakhpat jail in the Al Azizia corruption case.