PESHAWAR: Leader of the opposition in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Akram Khan Durrani on Friday warned that the provincial government would face dire consequences if it tried to block the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl’s Oct 27 Azadi March.

“Chief Minister Mahmood Khan will not be able to come out of his house if he creates hurdles to our march on Islamabad,” said Mr Durrani, who is also a senior leader of the JUI-F.

On a point of order in the assembly, which met with deputy speaker Mahmud Jan in the chair, the opposition leader was responding to the statement of CM Mahmood Khan that he won’t allow the JUI-F workers to march on Islamabad.

Minister tells PA befitting response to protesters over forced market closure, halt to traffic

He said the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf was afraid of the Azadi March though it had earlier promised to provide containers to the opposition parties for staging a sit-in against it in Islamabad.

“We are waiting for the prime minister to provide containers to us for Azadi March,” he said.

Mr Durrani said taking out protest demonstrations and rallies was the right of every political party and that was the beauty of democracy.

He said the JUI-F workers had a great desire to lay down life for the country and if any of them was stopped from marching on Islamabad, they would retaliate more aggressively.

The opposition leader said information minister Shaukat Yousafzai should mind his language otherwise the JUI-F workers would ‘eat him like a carrot’.

“Don’t try to scare us at this stage of life and much experience in politics,” he warned the chief minister.

Pointing a finger to the MPAs of Pakistan Peoples Party, Mr Durrani said there would be activists of their party in the Azad March.

He later turned to the benches of the PML-N and said the Oct 27 protest would be attended by the workers of that party as well.

“I say it with full responsibility that the Azadi March will be peaceful,” he said, adding that the JUI-F workers had taken out several marches in the past but they didn’t smash a single glass.

Mr Durrani said his party owned the people, roads, buildings and other properties of the country and won’t damage them during the Azadi March.

Responding to the opposition leader’s criticism, tourism minister Mohammad Atif Khan said the holding of rallies and protest demonstrations was the right of every political party.

He, however, said if the JUI-F activists forced traders to close markets or blocked traffic, then the government deserved the right to give a befitting response to them.

Later, the opposition members surrounded the chair’s dais to protest his refusal to allow MPA Munawar Khan to speak on a point of order.

The deputy speaker insisted that time would be given to the lawmaker after the question hour was over.

However, all opposition members left their chairs and demonstrated in front of the speaker’s dais shouting slogans against him.

During the noisy protest of the opposition members, the chair continued the proceeding with all questions lapsed as the movers were protesting.

The house also approved the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Code of civil Procedure (Amendment0bill, 2019, the Succession (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) (Amend) Bill, 2019, and The Code of Criminal Procedure (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

The chair adjourned the session until Monday.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2019