Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
November 1, 2019

Azadi March floods into Islamabad

Top Story

November 1, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Amid confusion among the opposition parties over cancellation of the sit-in in the federal capital in the wake of train tragedy on Thursday, JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman said they will go ahead with the protest plan against the government policies.

“Azadi March means everything including the march, public meeting and dharna,” he said while talking to newsmen in Gujar Khan prior to departing for Islamabad.

The march left Gujar Khan for Islamabad soon after the Asr prayers at around 4pm and reached close to the 9th avenue via Islamabad Expressway and IJ Principal Road by 12 midnight. However, instead of turning to the 9th Avenue, the procession kept on marching on the IJ Principal Road. After travelling on the IJP Road, the march will cross Tarnol Chowk and reach the venue via Kashmir Highway.

A large number of vehicles coming from the KP province were also seen crossing the Islamabad Motorway toll plaza before the sunset on Thursday. Top opposition leaders including Fazlur Rehman, Bilawal Bhutto, Shahbaz Sharif and others would address the protestors after the Juma prayers.

Contradicting the statement of PML-N spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb regarding postponement of the Azadi March and public meeting in Islamabad, Fazl said it was the JUI-F that would take the decision.

Speaking in a private television channel programme, Fazl said they were coming to Islamabad to seek resignation of the prime minister. “We can give the government two to three days, then the people will not remain in our control and there will be anarchy,” he said.

Earlier, the statement of PML-N spokeswoman Maryam Aurangzeb that it had been decided to postpone the public meeting in Islamabad due to train tragedy created confusion. “I am saying with full responsibility that the public meeting has been postponed and it will be held tomorrow,” she said.

PPP spokesman Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said it had been decided in the Rahber Committee meeting that the public meeting would be held on October 31. However, the PML-N leaders including Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Muhammad Sadiq and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq reached the venue.

Addressing the rally before the arrival of Fazlur Rehman, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said time had come for the prime minister to quit. "Now the selected one has to go, as it is the voice of every Pakistani,” he said raising the slogan of ‘Go selected Go’.

Bilawal said he felt proud of representing the PPP in the Azadi March. He said the people of Pakistan and all political parties had a consensus message to Banigala and rulers that people were not ready to bow before puppets and the selected prime minister."

He said some people wanted that the power should lie with the state and not with the people. He said democratic rights were being snatched and elections were only selection and were rigged.

“The puppet government snatched the rights of people. The puppets did not come through the vote of the people but conspiracies,” he said. Addressing the protestors, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal said Prime Minister Imran Khan would have to quit.

He said Imran Khan had deceived the nation and also weakened the country through his economic policies. Khawaja Asif said the opposition parties were following the narrative of ‘Vote Ko Izzat Do’ as given by Nawaz Sharif.

Expressing grief over the loss of over 75 lives in the train tragedy, the PML-N leader regretted that no resignation had come either from the prime minister or Shaikh Rashid. ANP chief Asfandyar Wali reached the venue in Sector H-9 before sunset and delivered his speech.

Asfand said it had been decided by the Rahber Committee that the public meeting would be held on October 31. “We have received no information about postponement of the event,” he said, adding he would leave after recording his protest.

Asfandyar said if anybody wanted to give impression of a conflict in the opposition ranks then they were wrong as all the opposition was united. He said the elections of 2018 were stolen and it was only Imran Khan who stole the mandate of the people of Pakistan.

“I challenge Imran Khan and present all the assets and property of my family before the people of Pakistan. If any kind of wrong is proved against me, then I am ready to be hanged,” he said.

Asfandyar said selected accountability was being done today and the sister of Asif Ali Zardari and daughter of Nawaz Sharif were its target. “Why the sister of Imran Khan is not being questioned?” he asked.

He said the prime minister should have represented the nation at the international forums but he defamed Pakistan by saying that the ISI had trained the Taliban. “Whether he was representing Modi?” he questioned.

He said the whole Pakistan was united on the issue of Kashmir and will continue to stand with the people of Kashmir. He said Imran Khan was complaining that the media was not free in the IOK but he wanted to ask him if the media was free in Pakistan. He said a ban had been imposed on the use of drone cameras.

Hafiz Hussain Ahmad of JUI-F also strongly objected to the statement of Maryam Aurangzeb. “If there are any issues between Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, then they should resolve the same internally,” he said.

The PML-N secretary general while talking to newsmen said that the decision to extend programme of public meeting in Islamabad would be held on Friday after Juma prayers. Meanwhile, following a media talk by JUI-F leader Abdul Ghafoor Haideri during which he protested closure of roads, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat met party leaders to remove their reservations.

Maulana Abdul Ghafoor maintained that no contract had been made with the PML-N for postponement of the public meeting. He said the Azadi March would reach the venue of the public meeting on Thursday night, while the political leadership had been advised to reach there from Friday morning.

He said the political leadership would continue to arrive at the venue till late Thursday night while the public meeting would formally start on Friday morning. Addressing protestors prior to arrival of the JUI-F caravan, Ahsan Iqbal said the Prime Minister Imran Khan would have to quit. The PML-N leader said that Imran Khan had deceived the nation also weakened the country through its economic policies.