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October 15, 2019

Reservations persist on sit-in: PML-N to participate in Azadi March

Top Story

October 15, 2019

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leadership has chalked out the party strategy for participation in the so-called Azadi March, led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman on October 31, as directed by the party supremo Nawaz Sharif.

However, they expressed their reservations over likelihood of the march turninginto a sit-in in Islamabad, and advised the top leadership against becoming its part. The PML-N leadership, which met and deliberated on various issues under the chairmanship of party President Shahbaz Sharif on Monday, chalked out a roadmap for the march and a public meeting on Oct 31, and decided to follow the instructions, given by Nawaz Sharif, in letter and spirit.

However, according to sources, the senior leaders in the meeting advised the central leaders to refrain from participating in the likely sit-in at Islamabad, which is culmination of the march, according to various JUI-F leaders.

The PML-N had already conveyed its suggestions and reservations against the sit-in to the JUI-F chief. The meeting decided that the final strategy about the Azadi march and the Oct-31 public meeting, as chalked out in the light of Nawaz Sharif’s letter, would be jointly announced by Shahbaz Sharif and Maulana Fazl on Oct 16.

The meeting was attended by Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, Senator Abdul Qayyum, Abdul Qadir Baloch, PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal, Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb, Rana Mashood, Muhammad Zubair, Punjab Information Secretary Azma Zahid Bukhari, Mohsin Latif and others.

The meeting participants said decision to join the Azadi march was made as the party could not stay indifferent to the public sentiments, turning into mass protests as a response to the cruel, apathetic policies of the PTI government.

Talking to the media informally, Senator Abdul Qayyum said the meeting chalked out the roadmap about joining the Azadi march, but there was no decision on participation in the sit-in.

Mohsin Latif said the PML-N leadership would join the Azadi march, as directed by Nawaz Sharif. The meeting decided that the march would be launched from Sukkur, instead of Karachi, along with the JUI-F Sindh leadership. Processions from Balochistan and south Punjab would join them on the way to the federal capital. Similarly, the processions from different cities of central Punjab would converge in Lahore before marching on Islamabad.

The meeting condemned the government for gagging the voice of independent media through worst kind of restrictions and undeclared censorship, observing that the PTI must learn from history that stifling the media had never paid positively. It observed that the media and democracy protect freedoms of each other, and suppressing one would be like suppressing the other, and warned that restrictions on the media would result in extremism and violence in society.

The meeting observed that irresponsible policies of the PTI government had unleashed a wave of price-hike, unemployment and lawlessness, which was resulting in growing anger among masses, which was about to reach the boiling point. If this public reaction was not controlled through positive means, it could lead the country towards a chaotic and violent situation which would not be controlled by the PTI government.

The meeting condemned the incessant victimisation of Nawaz Sharif, and the recent arrest in case of Chaudhry Sugar Mills case, saying the Sharif family was being subjected to accountability over the last three decades without any results. It said the reopening of Panama case against Nawaz Sharif was one of the worst kinds of political victimisation, which showed the frustration among the PTI leadership.

The meeting also condemned Narendra Modi government for annexing Kashmir in violation of the UN resolutions and the international laws.

News Desk adds: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) General Secretary Ahsan Iqbal said on Monday the opposition leader in National Assembly, Shahbaz Sharif, was expected to meet JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Tuesday, Oct 15, to discus latter’s ‘Azadi march’, planned for the end of the current month.

In a statement, he said the Maulana had welcomed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s suggestions regarding Azadi march and promised to review them during his party’s policy committee meeting on Tuesday.