PESHAWAR: As major opposition parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Peoples Party and Awami National Party, have decided to join the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl’s Oct 27 Azadi March in Islamabad, the government has formed a ministerial committee to propose response to possible mischief from protesters.
The decision was made during a multiparty conference at the JUI-F provincial secretariat on Saturday.
Besides others, Qaumi Watan Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and other political groups also attended the event, where JUI-F provincial chief Maulana Attaur Rehman was in the chair.
The participants finalised a joint strategy for the Azadi March and decided that the processions from southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would proceed to Islamabad via Kohat-Fateh Jang Road on Oct 31, while marchers from Peshawar, Malakand, Mardan and Hazara divisions will enter Punjab via the Grand Trunk Road.
Mr Rehman said the provincial leaders of ANP, JUI-F, PML-N, PPP, QWP and their political allies would lead processions to the federal capital.
Govt forms ministerial body for response to possible mischief on Oct 31
He said representatives of lawyers, traders, doctors and other segments of the society would also join the main rally.
The JUI-F leader said all arrangements for the march had been made.
He said political parties would take out rallies and hold protest demonstrations across the province on Oct 27 to express solidarity with the people of India-occupied Kashmir.
Mr Rehman said political parties ‘fully’ supported the Azadi March and they were mobilising their workers for the anti-government movement.
Surprisingly, the JUI-F hasn’t invited its electoral ally, Jamaat-i-Islami, which is part of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, to take part in the Azadi March.
A senior JI leader confirmed that his party hadn’t been invited to join the Oct 31 protest.
He said his party wasn’t interested to join the march.
Mr Rehman said if the government blocked the GT Road and other main highways, then the workers of political parties would block the provincial highways and district roads.
“Workers have been directed to block roads across the province if they are stopped from proceeding to Islamabad,” he said.
The conference adopted a joint declaration demanding the resignation of the government, electoral reforms, and immediate general elections in the country.
It also said political parties would cooperate with each other for the success of the Azadi March.
The declaration expressed concern about the ‘threatening’ statements of the provincial chief minister and his ministers and declared the conduct a violation of the Constitution and local traditions.
The participants demanded the judiciary take notice of those ‘irresponsible’ statements.
They also supported the demands of traders, businesspersons and doctors.
The declaration criticised the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority for imposing restrictions on the coverage of Maulana Fazl and other opposition leaders.
It also said the administrators of seminaries and JUI-F leaders were being warned over the telephone against taking part in the Oct 31 protest.
Meanwhile, the provincial government has formed an eight-member ministerial committee on law and order situation in the province, said a notification issued here.
Law minister Sultan Mohammad Khan heads the committee, which comprises local government minister Shahram Tarakai, communication and works minister Akbar Ayub, information minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai, adviser to the chief minister on merged areas Ajmal Khan Wazir, the advocate general, home secretary, and deputy inspector general of the Special Branch.
The notification said the committee would engage with all segments of society, devise a strategy to allay their grievances, review the law and order situation, oversee the government’s response and preparedness to any law and order situation, and apprise the chief minister and cabinet of the situation and any other issue it deemed appropriate to be highlighted.
Meanwhile, a multiparty conference was held in Mansehra over the Oct 31 Azad March.
JUI-F district chief Mufti Kifayatullah chaired the event, where divisional president of the PPP Malik Waheed, PML-N leader Niaz Ahmad Niazi, ANP district president Sarwar Khan and Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan district chief Maulana Abdul Sattar Qadri were in attendance.
JUI-F district chief Mufti Kifayatullah thanked all opposition parties for supporting the anti-government protest.
He said he was hopeful that over 100,000 people would participate in the Azadi March as the people were fed up with the PTI government’s poor economic policies, which led to high inflation and unemployment rates.
The other speakers said the Azadi March would force the prime minister to dissolve assemblies to pave the way for fresh general elections in the country.
Meanwhile, the JUI-F, PML-N, PPP, ANP and QWP leaders addressed a joint news conference in a Battagram seminary and said the Oct 31 Azad March would send the ‘selected’ government packing.
JUI-F district emir Qari Mohammad Yusuf said the ruling PTI’s non-serious attitude towards national issues had harmed the country’s interests, so it should be ousted.
PML-N leader Nawabzada Wali Mohammad Khan said the PTI came to power through the backdoor and had failed to deliver and therefore, it would be forced out.
PPP’s Sardar Malik Jan, QWP’s Nisar Mohammad Khan and ANP’s Hazrat Yusuf said their parties had supported the Azad March in the larger national interest.
Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2019