Fazl spurns govt’s dialogue offer, renews demand for PM’s exit

Updated October 18, 2019

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Maulana Fazlur Rehman addresses foundation day ceremony of Jamiat Talba-i-Islam in Peshawar on Thursday. — White Star
Maulana Fazlur Rehman addresses foundation day ceremony of Jamiat Talba-i-Islam in Peshawar on Thursday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman here on Thursday turned down the government’s offer for negotiations and declared that the party’s decision regarding the Oct 31 march on Islamabad was irreversible.

“First, tender your (prime minister) resignation and then, we can negotiate,” Mr Fazl told the foundation day function of the Jamiat Talba-i-Islam, the party’s student wing, here.

Opposition leader in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Akram Khan Durrani and other senior JUI-F leaders also addressed the ceremony.

“First, you (Imran) mocked and made fun of us and now, you are offering negotiations. Mockery and seriousness cannot go together,” he said, adding that the government would have to quit ahead of talks with his party.

In a meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s core committee had offered talks to the JUI-F to discuss its demands.

Says decision on Oct 31 march irreversible

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak leads the party’s team tasked with contacting the JUI-F leader.

Addressing students, Mr Fazl said the party’s decision regarding the anti-government march was final and that all opposition parties were on the same page about it.

He said rallies would be taken out on Oct 27 to show solidarity with the people of India-occupied Kashmir with a major one being held in Peshawar.

“After showing solidarity with the people of the India-held valley, the people will march on Islamabad and will be there on Oct 31,” he said.

Mr Fazl said the government was pressuring transporters not to provide buses and wagons for the Azadi March.

He said the marchers would go to Islamabad at all costs even if they had to use camels, horses, bicycles and motorcycles or walk.

The JUI-F leader claimed that his party enjoyed the support of all segments of society, including traders, workers and industrialists, and the entire nation would join the anti-government march.

He said the marchers would remain peaceful, while the state institutions, including the Pakistan Army and police, won’t clash with them.

Mr Fazl rejected the government’s objections to the party’s security wing, Ansarul Islam, and said Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had also the National Guard.

He said the Ansarul Islam’s volunteers would operate to maintain discipline during the march.

The JUI-F leader said some people had waged an armed struggle in Pakistan in the name of the Taliban but his party vehemently opposed them.

He said the ulema and scholars affiliated with the JUI-F were killed in bomb and suicide attacks for opposing militancy.

Mr Fazl said he and other senior party leaders had survived attacks.

He said his party believed in parliamentary politics and began political movement against the ruling PTI as the people’s mandate was stolen in the July 25 general elections.

The JUI-F chief said the establishment was behind the current ‘selected and puppet’ government.

“This is our duty and responsibility to protect democratic rights of the people and ensure fair and transparent elections in the country,” he said.

Mr Fazl said the country’s economy had been ruined and industrialists had closed their units.

He said the puppet government had been installed to promote indecency and accomplish the agenda of the ‘Jewish lobby’.

The JUI-F leader claimed that the government had failed on all fronts, while neighbours had severed relations with Pakistan.

He said few retired generals had been talking in talk shows in favour of recognition of Israel.

Mr Fazl said retired generals should understand their limits and should not work for the Jewish state.

He said the Quaid-i-Azam had opposed Jewish settlements on Arab lands and declared them illegal.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2019