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October 5, 2019

Mayhem in KP Assembly over CM’s remarks on Azadi march


October 5, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday witnessed pandemonium as the opposition protested the remarks of the chief minister about Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F)’s planned Azadi march.

Just after recitation from the Holy Quran, opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani speaking on a point of order condemned Chief Minister Mehmood Khan’s announcement that JUI-F activists would not be allowed to proceed to Islamabad to stage the lockdown.

He said the government should show restraint and provide container to the opposition as promised by Imran Khan.

“We will not let the chief minister come out of his home if he tried to block or create hurdles for the Azadi marchers. Our protest will be peaceful and all the opposition parties, including Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Awami National Party (ANP) and Jamaat-e-Islami are joining us,” he added.

He categorically said that on October 27, the day Indian forces occupied Kashmir, solidarity would be observed with Kashmiris and there would be a lockdown as well.

He said that nobody can stop the protest as opposition was not afraid of jails and arrests and the government should not put the opposition and itself in a challenging situation.

Khushdil Khan of ANP said no body can stop the opposition from its democratic right of staging protest. He said the province and country belong to the people whose forefathers rendered sacrifices for its freedom and protection. He said the chief minister and the governor, who has no role in running the affairs of the province, recently inaugurated a college at Koh-e-Daman in rural Peshawar which was constructed by the ANP government.

He said that an FIR was lodged against him and another ANP MPA Salahuddin for holding peaceful protest against reopening of the already inaugurated college. He added that the government should refrain from taking undemocratic steps and withdraw the FIR immediately.

In his reply, Senior Minister Atif Khan said protest and freedom of expression was democratic right of every party. However, he warned of strict action if any vehicle was stopped or road blocked by force.

He said the JUI-F chief was angry after losing his seat and the protest was for Islamabad not for Islam.

Referring to Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai’s remarks, he said there should be difference between the words used in a public meeting and the speech delivered on on the floor of the House.

The opposition lawmakers surrounded the speaker’s dais when Deputy Speaker Mehmood Jan, who presided over the session, did not allow the opposition’s other members to speak.

They tore up the copies of the agenda and chanted slogans of “nakam hakumat aor corrupt hakomat murdabad, ‘speakergardi namnzoor, Ghunda gardi namanzoor and “shame, shame” when the law minister was given the floor to speak.

The chair continued the agenda proceedings amid the chanting of slogans by the opposition members.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2019 were also passed before the speaker adjourned the session.

Later, speaking a press conference in the lawns of the assembly, Akram Khan Durrani flanked demanded restoration of the erstwhile Fata Education Directorate. He said teachers from the tribal districts were on strike against merger of the Fata directorate. He pointed out that about 22,000 teachers from the merged tribal districts have been handed over to the KP Education Directorate without any preparation and strategy.

Akram Durrani said it was complete failure of the government that doctors, teachers and labourers were staging protests and the economy was on the verge of collapse.

He said there was civil martial law in the country and the media was under attack. He demanded the government to withdraw the FIR against ANP lawmakers Khushdil Khan and Salahuddin. He said the opposition would file a contempt of court case against the chief minister for allocating funds despite court order and ban. He reiterated his party’s resolve to hold Azadi march at all costs on October 27. He threatened holding of countrywide sit-ins at the district level if the government tried to stop the JUI-F activists from marching on Islamabad.