ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday announced that the party would begin its anti-government ‘Azadi March’ or Freedom March on October 27.
The announcement by Pakistan’s right-wing political party leader and a vocal critic of Prime Minister Imran Khan has stirred up the country’s dormant political scene overnight forcing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government to devise a counter strategy against the potential political challenge.
“The current government is the result of a fake election and fake results,” Fazl said during a press conference. He said that all opposition parties had rejected the July 25, 2018 election results and had called for fresh elections. “In this regard, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal have carried out 15 ‘million marches’ in the country to raise awareness among the people,” he said.
In July, Fazlur Rehman had demanded Imran Khan to step down or be ready for a long march to Islamabad. Now he is all set to stage a sit-in on the same place where Imran had demonstrated for more than 120 days against then prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 2014.
Fazlur was earlier approached by leaders of the two major opposition parties — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan people’s Party (PPP) — and requested to postpone dates for ‘Lockdown Islamabad’ plan and Azadi March till November, but the maulana has made it clear it was not his individual decision but that of his party’s Central Working Committee and he was obliged to stand by that decision.
While addressing a press conference on Thursday, Fazlur said October 27 was selected by the CWC of his party because it was also a day of expressing solidarity with Kashmiri people and is marked as Black Day.
PML-N, PPP to review earlier decision of staying away from ‘Azadi March’
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the PPP has called an urgent meeting of the party core committee to examine the level and volume of cooperation and workers’ participation the PPP could extend to Fazlur’s march.
The PML-N is also holding a core committee meeting later next week to weigh various options of maximum cooperation with the party’s long-time ally and a friend of ‘difficult times.’