ISLAMABAD: Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman has announced that his party has planned a decisive long march on Islamabad aimed at ousting the present “fake government” in October, saying a final date will be announced after consultation with other opposition parties.
Speaking at a news conference after a two-day meeting of the party’s Majlis-i-Shoora here on Sunday, the JUI-F chief warned the government against making any effort to disrupt their planned march and expressed the hope that people from all walks of life and from all over the country would reach Islamabad to participate in what he called ‘Azadi March” to get rid of the present “incompetent and illegitimate government”.
He said the proposal would be discussed at a meeting of the opposition’s Rehbar Committee to be held in Islamabad on Monday (today). Besides, he added, a proposal to organise a meeting of the heads of all opposition parties was also under consideration.
“We are in contact with the opposition parties for cooperation (over the proposed march). We are planning meetings of the Rehbar Committee and the heads of the parties. And we will continue to make efforts to gather in Islamabad with complete cooperation,” he said.
The JUI-F chief intelligently evaded a direct question about differences within the opposition parties over various sensitive issues like blasphemy laws, saying that all opposition parties were unanimous on one point that the present government had no legitimacy as it had come into existence as a result of “fake elections”. He said they did not recognise the present government and wanted fresh elections in the country.
Maulana Fazl lashed out at the rulers for their “failed economic policies” and said the present government had broken all records of obtaining domestic and international loans and the unprecedented price hike had hit every segment of society. “People belonging to all sections of life are in pain due to failed policies of the present rulers. In these circumstances, it is the right of every Pakistani to sack this incompetent government,” he declared.
He said his party had already organised 15 ‘million marches’ in the country and all of them remained peaceful despite huge participation of the public in it. Referring to a TV interview of Interior Minister retired Brigadier Ijaz Shah, the JUI-F chief said it seemed that the minister had prepared a plan to “spread anarchy in the country by attacking our caravans”.
“There will be a huge sea of people which will sweep such small trouble makers like straws,” he said, adding that their protest would be peaceful like in the past.
When asked about the venue of the protest march, Maulana Fazl said it would be all over Islamabad. “No street will be empty.”
He said religious elements, traders, youth, media persons, judges, lawyers and the public at large all were perturbed by the policies of the present government. He said the JUI-F vowed to work for making successful its movement for the protection of Deeni Madaris (religious seminaries), Aqeeda Khatm-i-Nubuwat, Namoos-i-Risalat and the Islamic and democratic status of the Constitution.
The JUI-F chief said his party fully supported the demands presented by the Ittehad Tanzeemat Madaris-i-Deeniya, a representative body of religious seminaries, to the government. He, however, advised the representatives of religious seminaries to suspend their negotiations with the present “incompetent and ill-intended government”.
Maulana Fazl also criticised the government’s handling of the Kashmir issue and said the government did not pre-empt the Indian move though it was well aware of the fact that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in its election manifesto had announced that it would annex Kashmir. When asked about the timing of the planned long march at a time when the whole nation was united on the Kashmir issue, he said the rulers had already sold out half of Kashmir and their ouster was a must to save the remaining Kashmir.
On May 23, the JUI-F chief through a video message had directed his party workers to start preparations for a “big anti-government protest demonstration” to be held in Islamabad soon.
Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2019