Fazl promises ‘peaceful’ march, warns govt against use of force


–KP information minister says govt won’t allow ‘stick-wielding’ protesters to hijack the country

PESHAWAR: As the war of words between the government and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) continues over the impending Azadi March, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday warned the government against the use of force to thwart the protest, assuring the marchers would remain “peaceful” within the ambit of the constitution.

Addressing the party’s Salar Force in Peshawar, he said the JUI-F workers “opted for a peaceful protest for their rights”.

The JUI-F chief said all opposition parties were on the “same page” concerning the anti-government march, as he tried to dispel the impression that there were fissures among opposition parties regarding the sit-in.

“The march will begin on October 27 to show solidarity with Kashmiris,” Fazl confirmed.

Asserting his party would remain peaceful, the maulana said: “We are peaceful people, we will not attack parliament or the PTV. Unlike you, we will not hang trousers on the walls of institutions.”

He was alluding to over three-month-long Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) sit-in in Islamabad against then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government.

Urging the government to refrain from the use of violence, Fazl said they were coming to Islamabad to register a peaceful protest and hoped that the government would not use force to disperse them.

“We will be able to sustain your baton charges but you will not even be able to withstand a mere puff of air we blow on you,” he warned. “We will go forward as we have no option to turn back.”

He termed the incumbent PTI setup an “illicit government” that had been imposed on the country through a “theft of votes”.

“No one comes [to the airport] to welcome him when our fake prime minister goes on a foreign visit. The puppet [prime minister] has been imposed for implementation of the Western world agenda,” said Fazl, evoking the religion once again in his movement against the government.

“The country was going backward due to the incompetent ruler,” he said, referring to the economic crisis.

“The economy is sinking, factories are being shut and traders are in distress, while the prime minister in an effort to support the economy has now moved on from poultry and livestock to langars,” he quipped.

Responding to Fazl, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai said the maulana was running a “baseless campaign against the government and warned that action would be taken against the JUI-F chief’s illegal steps”.

“We will not let anyone bring stick-wielding people to the streets,” said he.

The minister said everyone has the right to protest but the government would not “allow bloodshed on the roads in the name of protests”.