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October 7, 2019

Bilawal, Asfandyar want APC before march

Top Story

October 7, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and President Awami National Party (ANP) Asfandyar Wali Khan on Sunday proposed to Maulana Fazlur Rehman to convene an All Parties Conference to work out consensus modalities for ‘Azadi March’, scheduled to be started from October 27. Both the leaders also demanded fresh elections in the country.

However, Maulana Fazlur Rehman made it clear that date for the march on Islamabad is final. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Sunday held a meeting with ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan at the latter’s residence as part of consultation to evolve a joint stance of the opposition with regard to anti-government movement of the opposition.

Besides Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the PPP delegation comprised PPP Parliamentarians Secretary General Farhatullah Babar, PPP Secretary General Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari and Senator Mustafa Nawaz Kokhar while the ANP delegation comprised KP’s ex-chief minister Amir Haider Hoti, Zahid Khan and Mian Iftikhar Hussain.

Though during the meeting, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asfandyar Wali agreed on launching an anti-government movement of the opposition, they wanted to set the opposition’s consensus modalities for this purpose and agreed to propose Fazlur Rehman to convene an All Parties Conference of the opposition. Both the leaders agreed on joint struggle of the opposition to throw the government of Imran Khan out.

They demanded fresh, free fair and transparent elections. It was also decided that both the parties will hold their party’s core committee meeting to formulate the modalities for anti-government movement. “The opposition is united, will remain united and will drive out Imran Khan from office and will demand for free, fair and transparent elections,” said PPPP Secretary General Farhatullah Babar along with ANP Secretary Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain while talking with the newsmen after the meeting of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asfandyar Wali. Mian Iftikhar Hussain said it was the need of time that the opposition should continue their contacts and move forward with unity to create an atmosphere that all opposition stands together on October 27. “We propose Maulana Fazlur Rehman to convene an All Parties Conference for creating a joint stance so that October 27 march will be successful to achieve the target,” he said.

He said another proposal that Rehbar Committee of the opposition, whose convener is Akram Khan Durrani, be convened to sort out the joint strategy and modalities for October 27.

“We demanded fresh election without army’s intervention,” he said. Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the joint stance of the opposition is that this “selected government’ should be sent packing. He said another debate is going on with regard to “religious card’ since the first meeting of the APC, but this issue has already been settled in the APC as Bilawal Bhutto Zardari questioned about it in the APC and they supported and Fazlur Rehman clearly said that the Islamic provision of Constitution will be protected and defended.

“We all have a consensus on the Constitution and all of its articles,” he said. Farhatullah Babar said the joint declaration of the first session of the APC is before everyone so there is no question of religious card or agenda. “The real agenda of the opposition is to send this government packing, fresh elections without involvement of the army,” he said.

He said the question with regard as to who have links with any section of the establishment, he did not know about it, so this question did not relate to them. “Some section is propagated only to discredit us,” he said. He said the opposition wanted that the fresh elections be held under the supervision of the Election Commission of Pakistan and without the involvement of the army in it. Iftikhar said that roads were open for those who previously came and no hurdles were created for them and they remained there for 120 days at the D-Chowk.

He said all the opposition has a consensus on that this is a ‘selected government’ as they came through rigged elections and results of the elections were formulated in closed rooms. “It was a stated policy of the opposition that this selected government not be accepted and fresh election is only solution but not such kind of elections which were held previously. We want free, fair and transparent election without the involvement and intervention of the army,” he said. He said the present government has destroyed the economy.

“Imran Khan has damaged the country through his speech in the United Nations General Assembly as it accepted the training of al-Qaeda and other terrorists,” he said. The ministers said that Maulana Fazlur Rehman is affording a shield to the political pygmies.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to PM on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said, “Peaceful protest is the right of the Maulana (Fazlur Rehman) but the government is also duty bound to protect people’s lives and properties and any attempt to cross that line will attract (administrative) reaction.” Dr Firdous said this while addressing the media at the State Guest House.

She said the government was “closely watching” every move of the JUI-F chief and would respond effectively if need be. We will decide our response when it comes to crossing the Rubicon but no destabilisation would be allowed.”

The special assistant questioned the logic of, what she called, spreading chaos: “It is certainly not altruistic reasons driving the JUI chief but frustration for being out of power. Any administrative or political chaos at this juncture (referring to the Kashmir crisis) hardly makes sense,” she said.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Hussain said Chief of JUI-F Maulana Fazlur Rehman was holding and propagating the Azadi March for self-interest. Talking to a private news channel, he said the Maulana was inciting innocent students of religious seminaries for his political gains. The minister alleged JUI-F had taken hefty amount from PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz for hatching a conspiracy against the democratic system to release their leaders who are facing imprisonment on corruption charges. He said the JUI-F chief was not in a position to assemble 5,000 people for his Islamabad lockdown, adding that the incumbent government would not create any hindrances in the way of peaceful protest but law would take its course against violators.

He said the main motives behind the march is to halt the accountability process against PPP and PML-N leadership and create hindrance in the reform process at religious seminaries.