ISLAMABAD: The JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman Thursday announced to start ‘Azadi March’ towards Islamabad on October 27 for ouster of the PTI government.
Addressing a press conference here after chairing a meeting of party’s Central Working Committee (CWC), Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that after expressing solidarity with Kashmiri people on October 27, which is also observed as Black Day, the Azadi March would also start the same day.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan said the JUI-F has no strength to organise a march towards Islamabad. “We will not allow the marchers to proceed to Islamabad,” he told a public gathering at Bisham in Shangla district.
“The Central Working Committee has decided that caravans will start moving from all over the country on October 27 and their final stop will be Islamabad,” he said, adding that the government would be sent packing.
Fazlur Rehman said the PTI government was shedding crocodile tears after selling out Kashmir and compromise on the vital issue. The JUI-F chief told a questioner that their destination in Islamabad would be D-Chowk for a few days and they would stay there till ouster of the government. He said there would be no compromise or reconciliation with the government on any issue and the only aim was to oust the government.
Asked if attempts were made to stop Azadi March, he said they have scheme one, scheme two and scheme three and they have finalised the strategy as to how to reach Islamabad. The JUI-F chief said the country was standing at risk and now it was question of the country’s sovereignty and security of its nuclear capability. “I will give a detailed statement in a couple of days that what threats the country was facing due to deeds of the present government,” he said.
Fazlur Rehman said Prime Minister Imran Khan in order to counter religious forces and JUI-F uses the name of Islam in his speech and sometimes he gathers Ulema and students of madaris. “I fear one day he will start issuing sermons at madaris,” he said, adding that he may also grow beard. Fazlur Rehman rejected an impression that the JUI-F was taking decisions in isolation, saying that his party was moving forward in consultation with other opposition parties. “Our meeting with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari today was also positive one,” he said.
He told a questioner that it was not only the JUI-F but all segments of society, businessmen, shopkeepers, government employees, doctors etc who would be joining the Azadi March. He said he was directly in touch with all these people. To a question, he said they would also demand electoral reforms before the next general elections following ouster of the government.
The Maulana said his party did not want any clash with any institution and there would be peaceful Azadi March and they would show it to the world. About using option of resigning from assemblies, the JUI-F chief said opposition parties would be consulted before taking any decision in this regard.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the PPP said that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has “welcomed the announcement of a march by Maulana Fazlur Rehman towards Islamabad. “It was agreed upon in principle between both leaders that the PTI government’s failure in addressing core issues confronting the nation has left the opposition with no choice but to take to streets,” said Bilawal’s spokesman 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 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has prepared lists of the JUI-F leaders and office-bearers for their arrests and house arrests prior to their Islamabad march. Sources told The News that the KP government has prepared lists for the mass arrest of the JUI-F leaders in the province before their march.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan also confirmed the lists of JUI-F leaders and said that the government has several options and strategy in this regard would be finalised in the light of directions from the federal government.
“No one would be allowed to go from KP towards Islamabad for the lockdown,” the CM said, adding that he would meet Prime Minister Imran Khan for devising a strategy to fail the march.
However, he said the provincial government has devised its strategy and prepared the JUI-F leaders’ lists at district level. The KP government sources said that the government has decided not to allow the JUI-F processions from the districts and directions had been given to district police in this regard. KP government spokesman Ajmal Wazir said that the government would not allow anyone to march on Islamabad.
He said that the government had devised a strategy and strict action would be taken against protesters in case of violation. He said that the government is not afraid of the sit-in and has prepared a plan to tackle the protesters.