PESHAWAR: The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl has launched a fundraising campaign and volunteer registration in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the Islamabad sit-in to be staged next month against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government.

Insiders told Dawn that the party had directed its organisers to collect a minimum of Rs1.2 million from every district for the sit-in likely to be held in the federal capital in the last week of Oct.

The party has announced that one million people will participate in the march.

Claims 1m people will participate in next month’s Azadi March

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has announced that his party workers will run over Islamabad next month after Prime Minister Imran Khan ignored the Aug 31 deadline to resign. He said the sit-in would continue until the premier stepped down.

“The party has set the target of each district donating at least Rs1.2 million for the Azadi March in Islamabad,” said a source in the party.

The source said the collection of donations from workers was under way in all districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said donations were being collected in other three provinces as well.

When contacted, JUI-F provincial information secretary Maulana Abdul Jalil Jan confirmed the launch of fund-raising campaign for Islamabad lockdown.

He said he had no information about the Rs1.2 million donation collection target set for every district.

Mr Jan said separate donation receipt books of Rs100, Rs500 and Rs1,000 had been printed for fund-raising.

He said over one million people were expected to take part in the protest and all expenses of the march would be borne through donations.

The JUI-F information secretary said Maulana Fazl was likely to announce the protest march’s date in the meeting of the party’s central executive committee.

The party had organised a well-attended rally in Peshawar in July.

Sources said preparations for the protest march were in progress, while workers were being mobilised for it across the country. However, the party’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter will play a crucial role in the protest.

They said transportation of protesters from far-flung areas to Islamabad, collection of donations, and other arrangements, including provision of food and accommodation, were being finalised in the meetings taking place at the district level.

In this connection, a 13-member JUI-F body has begun visits to all districts, including seven merged tribal districts, to mobilise workers, especially students of seminaries affiliated with the party.

Hundreds of seminaries in the province have the JUI-F affiliation.

The mobilisation campaign will continue until Sept 29.

The party sources said the Ulema Convention would take place in Peshawar on Oct 15.

They said prayer leaders of mosques and principals of seminaries would attend the convention to discuss plan for the march.

The sources said the Ulema Convention would be followed by the ‘rehearsal’ of thousands of volunteers to be deployed for the security of the sit-in in Islamabad.

They said the exercise would be carried out in Peshawar on Oct 13, while volunteers would be deployed in Islamabad ahead of the lockdown.

The sources claimed that 12,500 volunteers from KP had registered themselves for assisting marchers during their stay in Islamabad and that the number would go up to 22,000-25,000 before the rehearsal was held.

They said at least 5,000 volunteers would come from the erstwhile Fata, while volunteers from other provinces, especially Sindh and Balochistan, would go to Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2019