AZADI MARCH LIVE UPDATES:
You stole the show: Chaudhry Shujaat congratulates Fazl
PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain congratulated Maulana Fazlur Rehman, on Sunday, for ‘stealing the show’ with his Azadi March dharna.
According to sources, the PML-Q chief spoke to Fazl over the phone and congratulated him for putting up a good show in Islamabad.
“Congratulations, you’ve managed to get the leader of the two biggest opposition parties to recognise you as their leader,” he reportedly told Fazl.
Shujaat urged Fazl to correct the wrong impression that had been caused by his statement involving the army. He also lashed out at PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif.
“Shehbaz has no place in the dharna,” Shujaat reportedly told Fazl. “He became leader of the opposition by accident. You are the real opposition leader,” he added.
Shujaat urged Fazl to resolve the crisis through reconciliation, keeping in mind national interest of the country.
Pervaiz Elahi contacts Fazl
Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi contacted JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and urged him to resolve the current standoff with the government with reconciliation.
According to sources, Fazl and Elahi both spoke over the phone and discussed the Azadi March standoff.
Sources from the JUI-F said that Fazl gave a positive message to Elahi.
Elahi is also a member of the government’s negotiating committee which is being led by Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak.
Bilawal hints at joining Azadi March dharna
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, on Sunday, hinted towards his party joining the Azadi March dharna.
The PPP chairman said that as announced before, his party was never a part of any sit-in protest.
“However, if the PPP’s core committee decides that we must participate in the dharna, we can think on it,” he said.
Bilawal clarified Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s statement by saying that the JUI-F chief did not threaten the prime minister by arresting him.
“He simply meant that the emotions of the people were such that they wanted to arrest the prime minister,” he said.
Bilawal said that when governments don’t set themselves on the right course, then democratic forces are forced to take undemocratic measures.
The PPP chairman paid a visit to those who had gotten injured in the Tezgam train incident and inquired after their health. He called on Sheikh Rashid to resign from the railways ministry.
Ultimatum approaches its end
Today is the last of a two-day ultimatum given by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Friday when he had reached Islamabad with thousands of his party workers and supporters from all over the country.
However, hours before the Sunday deadline, the government’s negotiating team categorically rejected the opposition’s demand of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation, saying the doors are open for talks but no one will be allowed to create chaos in the country.
Addressing a news conference along with Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood and MNA Asad Umar in Islamabad on Saturday, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said that if the march participants leave their designated place and move forward, they will be breaking the agreement signed with the administration.
Meanwhile, JUI-F’s Rehman stuck to his demands, asking the prime minister to step down as his “writ has ended”.
Addressing the participants of the Azadi March, Rehman said that the agreement with the government is no longer effective.
JUI-F mulls plan B
The senior leadership of JUI-F mulled over the next steps to be taken after the two-day deadline given to the government for PM Imran Khan’s resignation ends today.
The meeting, attended by the party’s top brass, discussed various options including the call for a countrywide ‘shutter down’ strike and road blockades.
Major opposition parties including Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz have opposed the idea of marching towards D-Chowk and staging a sit-in near the Parliament House.
According to reports, Maulana Fazlur Rehman will make the announcement regarding the decisions taken in the meeting.
The establishment has decided to further beef up security to meet prevailing security situation in the federal capital, after the JUI-F hinted at moving towards D-Chowk and breaching the security zone during the upcoming week.
The interior ministry officials, in a top level meeting on Saturday, decided that Islamabad Police will be reinforced by adding 9,000 more personnel of anti-riot police and paramilitary force called from other provinces and divisions. The new force will land in Islamabad to take positions at sensitive locations.
It was an embarrassing moment for the JUI-F when the general secretary of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter mistakenly urged a crowd of protesters to chant ‘Go Nawaz Go’ instead of ‘Go Imran Go’. The faux pas was made by the JUI-F’s Maulana Ataul Haq Darvesh on Saturday on the main stage of the Azadi March rally.
Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, said on Saturday that Pakistan’s institutions were “guarantors of the defence and security of the motherland”.
In a series of tweets, she emphasised that dragging them (institutions) into politics for sordid political interests was both regrettable and reprehensible. She advised the Maulana to not take revenge from Pakistan and its people for not being in the corridors of power.
Despite being on same page with the opposition on seeking the resignation of PM Imran Khan and holding fresh elections, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is not in support of the sit-in and their resignation from the Parliament.
According to sources, during the meeting of the Rahbar Committee of opposition parties, the PPP members opposed the proposal of staging a sit-in, arguing that the PPP always opposed the dharna politics and will not take a U-turn from its principled stance.
Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Saturday said that Azadi March protesters will find no place to hide if Prime Minister Imran Khan makes a call.
In a series of tweets he called the protesters “a bunch of opportunists” and warned them not to underestimate the PTI government because we are exercising self-restraint.
The Parliament stands as a forsaken forum in the present tense political situation as against the equally dangerous scenario five years back in 2014.
The government has paid no heed to summoning either the separate sessions of the National Assembly and Senate, or a joint sitting of parliament to bring the most burning topic in the confines of the legislature.
Only the opposition parties have filed a requisition to call the Senate. The abandonment of this important democratic body in the context of the significant scenario has projected its irrelevance.
It has been speculated more than once that the government is mulling over the idea of calling the parliament, but it has taken too long to arrive at a decision.
Most of the residents of Islamabad have made up their mind not to send their children to schools and colleges on Monday as well, due to JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s threat to march on the Prime Minister’s House in the Red Zone along with hundreds of workers.
The private educational institutions have closed their campuses since Thursday ahead of the arrival of the JUI-F’s anti-government Azadi March in the city citing security concerns as the reason.
The life of thousands of commuters has strongly been affected due to the suspension of Metro Bus Service (MBS) in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad for the past three days.
The commuters could be seen running behind wagons, buses and taxis to reach their destinations to attend their offices, schools and colleges.
On the directions of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Metro Bus Authority (MBS) has already issued a notification to suspend bus service between Rawalpindi and Islamabad for an indefinite period during ‘Azadi March’ days to avoid a law and order situation.
Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has said that asking for resignation of an elected prime minister is unconstitutional and illegal.
He said that efforts of marchers would end in smoke. In a statement issued on Saturday, the chief minister said that rejected elements were taking revenge for their failures from people by hindering the journey of progress and development.
He said that the negative agenda of such elements would remain unsuccessful.
He said those who were doing politics on non-issues would face humiliation.
Fazl to govt: ‘Your writ over Pakistan is over now’
Addressing the participants of the march, Maulana Fazl sent a strong message to the ruling PTI, saying: “Your writ over Pakistan is over… Now we will peacefully run this country.”
He said that his party was functioning as per the earlier agreement with the government, however, the Islamabad administration took certain steps which nullified the pact.
Fazl said that his party will run the country by remaining peaceful.
Maulana Fazl began addressing the participants of the march, saying that women are very much part of the march as no one has pushed them aside.
“Women are part of this protest, sitting at home and doing Zikar and prayers,” he said, adding that from overall the situation it can be imagined how much hatred prevails against the incumbent government.
Govt to move court against Fazl
The federal government has decided to approach the court over a recent statement by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said on Saturday.
The press conference came after Prime Minister Imran Khan convened a meeting of the ruling PTI’s core committee at Banigala earlier in the day to discuss a strategy to deal with the protesters.
“The core committee has decided regarding Maulana’s statement about people taking PM Imran’s resignation forcibly. We will go to court against this. They’re instigating people and steering them towards the wrong path. This is a mutiny and InshaAllah our case will be ready in this regard,” he said.
Won’t be blackmailed by opposition: PM Imran
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said undemocratic and unconstitutional demands of the opposition could not be accepted.
He, however, has directed the government committee to continue talks with the opposition’s Rahbar Committee.
According to Geo News, the committee has held a meeting with the prime minster who said the government would not to be blackmailed by the opposition.
He went on to say that even talks should be cancelled if the opposition tries to blackmail the government.
The premier asked the government body to meet the opposition’s Rahbar Committee and inform him what democratic rights the protesters are demanding.
Meanwhile, the prime minister has also presided over a meeting of Paksitan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Core Committee.
The prime minister has asked the interior ministry to be prepared and act swiftly if any untoward incident takes place.
JUI-F Chief responds to DG ISPR’s statement
“We don’t know on what basis he has issued the statement,” said the JUI chief while speaking to the media after attending a multi-party conference of opposition leaders at his residence late Friday night.
The maulana said the statement should have come from a politician instead of the DG ISPR since he represents the institution of army.read more
Fazl should take his grievances to the concerned institutions: DG ISPR
Talking to a private news channel, the DG ISPR said that Fazl should take his grievances to the concerned institutions.
“Maulana Fazlur Rehman is a senior politician, he knows what he’s saying,” said the DG ISPR. “Fazl should reveal which institution he was referring to–was it the armed forces, or the election commission or the judiciary,” he asked.
The DG ISPR said that Pakistan Army’s support was with an elected government and not with any political party. He said that Pakistan Army had fulfilled its legal and constitutional responsibilities in the general elections.
“It has been a year since elections were held but it is still his constitutional right to take his grievances with the relevant institution,” he said.
The DG ISPR said that Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad was being carried out across the country so that lasting peace could be established.
“Pakistan Army is an impartial institution,” he said.
DG ISPR said that posing allegations and taking to the streets won’t solve problems,” he said.
He said that even at this time, there was tension across the Line of Control (LoC) with India. He said that the armed forces had rendered sacrifices to achieve peace in the country.
“The brave tribal people and the nation spent the last two decades in difficulty,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor said that if India dared to carry out any misadventure, Pakistan will give a befitting reply.
Participants of the march to stay for a minimum of 10-15 days
Geo News journalist and author Hamid Mir said on Friday that participants of the Azadi March will not leave within two to three days but would stay at the venue for a minimum of 10-15 days.
Speaking to Geo News, Mir said that he had spoken to the people who were participating in the Azadi March.
“These people are not here to stay two to three days,” he said. “They are here to stay for a minimum 10-15 days,” he added.
Mir said that he spoke to Fazl, who was wondering how he would send so many people home.
He said that within the next 24 hours, the marchers could proceed further than the H-9 venue where they were currently holding the jalsa.
“I spoke to Ghafoor Haideri and told him that you have an agreement with the government. Haideri told me that the government had itself violated the agreement by arresting our people.”
The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday issued a five-page detailed decision of declaring the measures of stopping Azadi March news and press conference of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman illegal. The PHC directed that equal coverage be given to the government and opposition on TV channels.
While none of us might be having any idea as of now as to what Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman would actually achieve or boast to accomplish in coming hours and days through his long march against the incumbent Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, there is absolutely no doubt that a hand in glove relationship of the religious and political parties has proved a lethal combination on many occasions in the country’s history, research shows.
Army will be called in to assist the civil administration during the Azadi March of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).
It was decided during a high-level meeting at the Ministry of Interior on Wednesday with secretary interior in the chair. Army troops will be deployed in the third tier of the inner circle of the security, Rangers will be positioned in the second tier and the police force will be posted in the front tier of security, said a spokesman of the Interior Ministry.
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