LAHORE: The mystery shrouding the JUI-F chief Maulana Fazalur Rehman’s intentions after reaching the federal capital is giving sleepless nights to the PTI government.

The party leadership fears that the ‘not-so-hard’ tone adopted so far by the Maulana in his public meetings is a tactic to reach Islamabad unhindered.

“Question at hand is what the JUI chief is up to. He is keeping his cards close to his chest and there is a fear that he may go into a defiance mode once the marchers settle in Islamabad public meeting venue,” a source in the Punjab government told Dawn.

The government is primarily monitoring the joint opposition march through social media to assess the ‘ground realities.’

Though the safe passage given to the marchers has saved the Punjab government from many hassles, officials believe the JUI-F chief is presently leading some 30,000 workers and supporters to Islamabad. An identical strength may join the main procession from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa besides a sizeable number from Azad Kashmir.

“At the end of the day, the Azadi March strength may touch 100,000 mark. And this number is difficult to handle if the Maulana goes into a defiance mode,” an official feared.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar chaired a meeting at his office here and reviewed measures to maintain law and order and security of participants of the Azadi March. The meeting also reviewed security arrangements taken in different districts that fall on the march route.

The chief minister directed the police and other law enforcement agencies to remain active to protect the life and property of the people.

Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2019