‘Azadi March’ enters Punjab


–KP highways to remain open for marchers moving towards federal capital


LAHORE: Jamiat Ulema-e Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is expected to reach Lahore late on Tuesday night, where supporters will accord him a welcome reception at Thokar Niaz Baig.

Before reaching the provincial capital of Punjab, the caravan will pass through Sahiwal, Okara, and then Kasur.

JUI-F spokesperson Maulana Saleemullah Qadri said that the reception will include dinner after which the caravan will move towards Samanabad Mor via Multan Road where a welcome camp has been set up by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

The caravan will then advance towards Chaubarji Chowk where the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has set up another welcome camp.

The marchers will then proceed to Data Darbar and on to Azadi Chowk to participate in a huge rally which is to be addressed by the JUI-F chief with other opposition members in tow.

The Jamiat Ahle Hadith (JAH) has also set up a camp at Bhaati Chowk on Ravi Road.

The Azadi March, which entered its third day on October 29, had entered Multan along with PPP leaders earlier in the morning.

It may be mentioned here that Awami Raaj Party leader Jamshed Dasti has joined the marchers too.

While addressing the marchers in Multan, PML-N’s Javed Latif said that the march is not just of Fazl but 220 million people. “If you want Kashmir’s freedom, then you must fight for your own freedom first. We will not back down till people are free. I am giving you Nawaz Sharif’s message. All PML-N workers are standing with you,” he said.

PML-N leader Javed Hashmi who was also present on the occasion claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan was not on the same page as the rest of the nation. “I know Imran Khan really well. I have served as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) president. I know that Imran Khan doesn’t accept the Pakistani nation. Well, then we don’t accept such a leader,” he said.

Hashmi, a veteran politician, also added that his party will be part of the JUI-F’s initiative “on every step, in every city of Punjab”.

Fazl, who had arrived on a container in Multan, also addressed his supporters with assurances that the movement would be successful.

“This march will enter the corridors of power and sweep away all the trash,” he said while addressing the marchers.

Earlier in the day, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) issued directives to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government stating that highways were to remain open so that the participants of the Azadi March could pass through.

A two-member bench of the PHC said that the provincial government should not set up containers to block any road till Attock while advising the participants of the march to maintain peace as well.

A senior lawyer associated with the JUI-F had moved the PHC last week seeking orders for the government against creating hurdles on main highways in the province for the Azadi March.

Additionally, while hearing another petition at the same time, the court also directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to give the opposition and government equal air time.