Leader of the House in the Senate Shibli Faraz on Monday said Maulana Fazlur Rehman seems to want to be arrested so that he can "become a hero", but the government has no intention of detaining the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief.
"Maulana Fazlur Rehman wants to be arrested so he can become a hero. [The government] does not want to give Maulana so much importance by arresting him," the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) senator said in conversation with DawnNewsTV.
"Steps, in accordance with the law, will be taken to maintain law and order situation," Faraz said.
Senator Faraz further said that the cracks between opposition parties have become obvious by the cancellation of a meeting between Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and the JUI-F delegation, which was called to initiate negotiations between the government and Rehman's party.
Faraz also predicted that the upcoming 'Azadi March' announced by Rehman was doomed to fail and added that the JUI-F leader "should consider what would happen afterwards".
"Maulana Fazlur Rehman's politics will end if the sit-in fails," Faraz warned.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday had constituted a seven-member team under Defence Minister Pervez Khattak to engage the JUI-F and other opposition parties ahead of their planned march. The JUI-F chief on Saturday had given a go-ahead to his party’s secretary general and Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri to meet the Senate chairman, who, as a member of the government negotiating team, had contacted him over telephone and sought a meeting.
On Sunday, however, Rehman had stopped his party's delegation from meeting Sanjrani, saying a decision on talks with the government would now be made by the opposition’s collective Rehbar Committee.
The Rehbar Committee, having representation of all major opposition parties, will meet today at the Islamabad residence of its convener, JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani, to decide whether or not they should hold talks with the government team constituted by Prime Minister Imran.
Rehman had announced in June that his party had decided to hold an anti-government long march to Islamabad in the month of October in order to topple the government, which he sad had come to power through "fake" elections.
Earlier this month, the Maulana first set October 27 as the date for the long march, but later deferred it till October 31, saying they would only bring out rallies on October 27 to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir, who would be observing a black day all over the world against the Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir on that day.
The other opposition parties initially objected to the unilateral announcement about the long march by Rehman, but later extended their support to him when the JUI-F took them into confidence about its plans.
The JUI-F has so far not disclosed details of its exact plan for the ‘Azadi March’ and its leaders have been issuing confusing statements in response to questions about their sit-in in Islamabad.