Change of heart in the Prime Minister?

  • Free hand to JUI-F


It is surprising the way the government’s attitude towards Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Azadi March has suddenly undergone a change. Earlier the PTI administration was unwilling to hold any talks with the JUI-F leader, maintaining that it was for him to approach the government in case he wanted to seek the redressal of any of his grievances. The government was unwilling to allow the march, as shown by the KP Chief Minster’s determination not to let any JUI-F rally pass through his province. It was held that the JUI-F chief was stoking instability and chaos in the country, and asserted with finality that the Maulana will not enter Islamabad. It appears that the Prime Minster is having second thoughts about the protest. He has advised party leaders to approach the JUI-F chief for talks to resolve the differences. The marchers would now be free to protest inside Islamabad as long as they do not violate the law.

The abrupt change in attitude towards the Azadi March has raised eyebrows and attempts are being made to find the real motive behind it. Has the PTI leadership regained confidence after the initial panic attack and has decided to confront the protesters? Are the guardians of the ruling party trying to gauge the level of the opposition’s political appeal? Or have they prevailed upon the government to allow the protests in order to show the ruling party that it cannot remain in power for long in the face of a determined opposition without their support?

The way Nawaz Sharif was taken into custody by NAB while still in jail indicates that there is no end to the government’s vindictiveness. This is also shown by the arrest warrants of the family members of the Sindh Assembly Speaker, issued without their having been sentenced by a court of law. Unless there is a change of heart in the government expressing itself in treating the opposition as competitors rather than enemies, there would no let-up to attempts to overthrow the government through street power even if the Azadi March fails to achieve this aim.