Maulana Fazl says D-Chowk is not his destination


–JUI-F chief says PTI govt’s writ has ended and now ‘we will peacefully run this country’

–Warns govt not to malign Azadi March, says protest will remain within constitutional limits


ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-e Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Saturday said that marching towards Islamabad’s D-Chowk was neither part of his plan nor was his destination, as he repeated his demand of the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan saying that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s writ over Pakistan has ended.

“Participants of Azadi March want to march towards D-Chowk but it is not our destination,” Fazl said while addressing the participants of Azadi March on Saturday night.

He said that the opposition is still implementing the agreement signed with the government’s negotiation committee, but the government has breached it by blocking roads.

“On one hand the government is inviting us for dialogue, but on the other hand they are blocking all roads by placing containers across the federal capital,” he said.

Addressing the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Fazl said: “Your writ over Pakistan has ended… Now we will peacefully run this country.”

Commenting on the arrest of JUI-F supporters for hoisting Taliban flags, Fazl said that delegations of Afghan Taliban are officially welcomed in Islamabad by the PTI government therefore criticising presence of a few such flags is baseless and an attempt to malign the Azadi March.

“With presidential protocol, the United States engaged with Afghan Taliban in peace talks… and with the same protocol they were welcomed in Moscow as well. And you ask us why a boy carried their flag in our rally,” he said.

“Where the world has headed to and where you are standing… we will also be right to consider this as an attempt to do a negative propaganda against the march,” he said and warned the Islamabad administration against creating chaos.

“They should be careful before using such tactics, otherwise this rally is enough for your entire Islamabad… these people are enough for your whole government… and people have just begin to arrive here and more will arrive tonight and tomorrow and you should be prepared for them also.”

At least eight activists of the anti-government protest in Islamabad were arrested after authorities said they were waving flags of foreign banned outfits. According to reports, the activists have been moved to an undisclosed location. Some of the JUI-F leaders asked the Islamabad Police to release the arrested activists. They also threatened that no agreement would be followed if the activists were not released within an hour.

“Not just the Indian but the entire international media is covering the Azadi March,” said the firebrand cleric referring to PM Imran’s criticism over his protest’s coverage on Indian channels.

Reacting to the criticism from certain quarters over no participation of women in the march, Maulana Fazl said every society has its own norms and values, and no woman was stopped from participating in the protest.

“Our women are participating in this protest from their homes,” he said. “They are fasting and praying [for our success]… we have women in legislatures.”

He added even female journalists were fulfilling their responsibilities and covering the march without any hindrance.

“I want to take an oath from you that you’ll say yes to any directives given to you by the joint opposition, including the JUI-F,” he said amid slogans in his favour in a sign of participants’ approval.

“No one could ever imagine achieving in even 100 years what objectives we have achieved in just three days.”

The JUI-F chief vowed to remain peaceful and achieve one target after the other by remaining within the constitutional limits until this ‘illegitimate government’ is ousted.

“You [PM Imran] must realise that you are not in power any longer and your writ on Pakistan has weakened… now we control the country and we’ll run the country peacefully and stabilise its crippling economy and protect every segment of the society.”

Maulana Fazl then urged Prime Minister Imran to resign and stop taking advantage of his ‘civility’.