Guidelines on agitation: Nawaz for ‘sticking to Constitution’ if fresh poll announced

Updated October 14, 2019

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Nawaz Sharif issues guidelines for making the anti-government ‘Azadi March’ a success. — Dawn/File
Nawaz Sharif issues guidelines for making the anti-government ‘Azadi March’ a success. — Dawn/File

LAHORE: The PML-N leaders will share with their jailed party supremo the response of Maulana Fazlur Rehman to the guidelines given by Nawaz Sharif for making the anti-government ‘Azadi March’ a success as the PTI-led government has mobilised the law-enforcing apparatus to frustrate the protest plan.

A team of Nawaz League called on JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl in Peshawar late on Sunday and delivered the former prime minister’s letter containing the guidelines.

“Whatever the Maulana’s response to the letter is, the party won’t leave him (Fazl) alone. The response will only help us in deciding the level of our participation in the march,” a senior party leader told Dawn here on Sunday.

He said PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif will be visiting his elder brother in Kot Lakhpat jail on Monday (today) to share the Maulana’s response and setting the party’s strategy accordingly. The instructions received from the ex-premier would be put before a party elders meeting to be held later in the day, he added.

He said the party had also decided to make public the letter containing the ‘roadmap’ for ouster of the government.

Read out to a select group of party elders in the Lahore huddle on Saturday, the letter contained guidelines about the events to be organised in various cities and towns parallel to the Islamabad protest, and the strategy to be adopted in the parliament during the protest days and for demanding a change in the government.

“The party supremo’s letter carries complete strategy to be adopted for making the protest a success,” the leader said. “It talks about focusing on main city’s like Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and taking along traders and industrialists for a shutter-down strike on the day when the ‘Azadi March’ reaches the federal capital. It recommends taking on board lawyers, journalists and other professional communities, and also spells out the terms for a response to in-house change offers and sticking to the election schedule as per the Constitution if the situation leads to announcement of fresh polls.”

A Punjab chapter leader denied the impression that because of health reasons Shahbaz Sharif would only appear in the Lahore episode of the ‘Azadi March’ when, led by Maunala Fazl, it reached the provincial capital between 29 and 30 October.

“It is yet to be decided whether Shahbaz Sharif will lead the march from Lahore to Islamabad or not. These are only speculations made by some pro-government TV channels,” he insisted.

According to him, the process for issuing directions to the party cadre for ensuring full participation in the march had been initiated.

Meanwhile, sources say the Punjab government has mobilised its law-enforcement apparatus to frustrate the ‘Azadi March’ plans as agencies have been asked to profile the JUI-F leadership in the province.

They say as the party of Maualna Fazl has never been on the agencies’ radar because of its thin following in the province, the law-enforcers are collecting names of prayer leaders and members of administration committees of various mosques belonging to the Deobandi school of thought to show their performance.

Many fear that wrong profiling or likely detention of innocent followers of Deobandi sect will further fuel the anti-government sentiments.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2019