ISLAMABAD: A day after Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) ended its much-trumpeted ‘Azadi March’ and announced to shift to “Plan B”, party workers on Thursday blocked all major highways across the country.
Earlier in the day, JUI-F workers started to arrive in Nowshera city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from Mardan, Charsadda and Peshawar. A major road was blocked in Hakimabad, where a large contingent of police was also present.
The participants of the anti-government march have also closed Indus Highway in Bannu. A party worker said cars will only be allowed to pass through in the case of an emergency, adding that the road has been shut “indefinitely”.
In Malakand, where workers from different parts of the Malakand division gathered at Chakdara Chowk, JUI-F blocked the Chakdara Road, which is the main road, which caused a large traffic jam. In Balochistan, a meeting of the JUI-F’s Quetta chapter has been called to decide the future course of action.
Provincial party chief Maulana Abdul Wasay, who will head the meeting, said in Balochistan roads are being closed in four places: Quetta-Chaman road will be closed at Chaman’s Syed Hameed Cross, Highway connecting Karachi to Quetta will be closed at Khuzdar, Highway connecting Balochistan to Punjab will be closed in Dera Ghazi Khan, Highway from Balochistan to Iran will be closed at Taftan.
Following the decisions taken during the meeting, the roads will be closed, Wasay said. In this regard, an alert has also been issued by JUI-F’s information department, according to which, if Hub Road is blocked, trains should not be stopped.
The notice said that if a road is blocked, ambulances and baraats should be permitted to pass through. People coming from overseas or going to the airport should be shown alternative routes. Protesters were instructed to avoid using sticks. Additionally, shops should not be forcibly closed.
The alert said that party workers should be directed to avoid causing damage to public property and there should be announcements that people who are caught doing these “are not our people, in fact, they are miscreants who will be handed over to the administration”. Additionally, briefings should be given on social media and workers should be updated with occasional video messages. The hardline JUI-F ended its sit-in yesterday after a party meeting was held under the chairmanship of party chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, where the party decided to shift to its Plan B and block major highways across Pakistan.
Soon after the meeting, the JUI-F chief announced the expansion of protests and reiterated his demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Following the decision, the participants of the March dismantled their tents and started gathering their belongings to leave the sit-in venue.
Meanwhile, JUI-F activists along with Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) workers, proceeded to block the Quetta-Chaman Highway for traffic. Workers from both parties blocked the Syed Hameed Cross for traffic on Wednesday, causing problems for the passengers.
On the other hand, a large contingent of levies forces reached the spot and started negotiating with the protesters to open the highway.
Agencies add: Leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi met with Maulana Fazlur Rehman today (Nov. 14) to resolve the matters of his protest peacefully.
Talking to media after the meeting, Chaudhry Shujaat advised to let Nawaz Sharif go abroad for medical treatment, adding that life is in the hands of the Allah Almighty.