Opposition's Rehbar Committee decides to end countrywide road blockades

Updated November 19, 2019

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Rehbar Committee convener Akram Khan Durrani addresses a press conference with other opposition members on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
Rehbar Committee convener Akram Khan Durrani addresses a press conference with other opposition members on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

The opposition's Rehbar Committee on Tuesday called off the road blockades and anti-government sit-ins being held in various parts of the country in order to "not cause inconvenience to the public".

Addressing a press conference after an hours-long meeting of the committee, JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani directed workers to open all blocked roads starting tonight.

Instead, he announced, the opposition will hold joint jalsas at the district level as part of its anti-government movement.

He said since the Rehbar Committee's decision was the "final word", it was being conveyed to workers to end the road blockades.

As part of the 'Plan-B' of the JUI-F-led Azadi March against the government, party workers have been blocking major highways and road links by staging sit-ins across the country since last week.

The JUI-F's sit-in in Islamabad — the first leg of the protest movement — was abruptly called off by party chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman after 13 days last Wednesday.

Both the PPP and PML-N had distanced themselves from the JUI-F sit-in as well as the party’s move to block the country’s main roads and highways.

Durrani said the Rehbar Committee had today reviewed the political situation and expressed satisfaction at the process of "increasing pressure on the government".

"The opposition is united," he declared, adding that their goal remains the achievement of their four demands.

He said the government is in a state of "panic" after the Azadi March and the Lahore High Court's decision to allow former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had in his speech on Monday said that the government allowed Nawaz to proceed abroad on humanitarian grounds. "Imran Khan is now requested to also have mercy on the nation and go home (resign)," Durrani added.

Quoting a recommendation of the committee, Durrani requested Fazlur Rehman to call an "all-party conference" of the opposition to decide the dates for the jalsas.

The committee also decided that the opposition parties will jointly suggest names for the appointment of the chief election commissioner and other members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Durrani said the Rehbar Committee members will on Wednesday (tomorrow) demonstrate outside the ECP to demand that the foreign funding case against the ruling PTI be decided expeditiously by hearing on a daily basis.

According to the JUI-F leader, the committee declared that in order to save the country's sinking economy it is imperative that the present government is removed and fresh elections are held "with any involvement of the army".