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Fazl says agreement with government has ended

Top Story

November 3, 2019

Leader of Awami National Party Mian Ifthikhar Hussain (R), and Chief of Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Mahmood Khan Achakzai (L) look on as Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman (C) speaks during an anti-government "Azadi (Freedom) March" in Islamabad on November 2, 2019.-AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, while addressing the participants of the Azadi March on Saturday said the agreement with the government is no more effective, the government’s writ over Pakistan has ended and now “we will peacefully run this country.”

Fazlur Rehman said that his party was functioning as per the earlier agreement with the government, however, the Islamabad administration took certain steps which nullified the pact. He said his party “will run the country by remaining peaceful”.

The Maulana began addressing the participants of the march, saying that women are very much part of the march as no one has pushed them aside.

“Women are part of this protest, sitting at home and doing Zikr and prayers,” he said, adding that from the overall situation it can be imagined how much hatred prevails against the incumbent government.

Fazlur Rehman made it clear that the PTI government was the only target of protesting opposition parties and they would not leave Islamabad till the rulers are sent packing. He said moving towards the D-Chowk was also a proposal under consideration of the opposition parties. “Today, the Rehbar Committee has discussed that moving towards D-Chowk is also a proposal under consideration,” he said.

However, he said they would continue to keep sitting at the existing venue till the opposition parties’ decision in this regard.

He asked the district administration of Islamabad to act wisely otherwise protestors reaching Islamabad were sufficient for the whole federal capital. “Now we will rule over the country peacefully and you are no more ruler of the country,” he said, asking Prime Minister Imran Khan that he should use language which suits a prime minister.

Fazlur Rehman said the government says that it was keeping doors for talks open but to the contrary, it had closed all the doors. “The fake government has constituted the committee and still it says the doors are open,” he said.

He also pointed out that the government has closed all the roads to the President House, Prime Minister House and Banigala. “You have closed all the ways but still say that all doors are open,” he said.

He also asked the government to first explain its constitutional and legal position before saying that it wanted negotiations within the ambit of the Constitution.

Responding to the allegation that the Indian media was giving special coverage to the protest event, the JUI-F top leader observed that it was media all over the world which was focusing on the Azadi March. “To the contrary, it is Modi who is happy that Imran Khan is Pakistan’s prime minister,” he said.

He said that 126 days of sit-in was not ideal for them as their history is filled with protest movements. “We know how to move from one phase to other phase of the protest,” he said.

Today, he said Pakistan was facing isolation in community of the world due to foreign policy’s failure. “The government is representing Kashmir with its failed foreign policy and has further complicated the issue,” he observed, adding that Modi had snatched Kashmir from Pakistan due to the failure of foreign policy.

He termed waving of Taliban’s flags at the public meeting as propaganda against the protest plan saying that it was the incumbent government which gave protocol to Taliban leaders and welcomed them. The JUI-F leader maintained that the mainstream political parties like PML-N and PPP were with them and all the decisions would be taken jointly.

Meanwhile, through a video message, the JUI-F leader invited the participants of Tableeghi Jamaat's gathering at Raiwind to join their public meeting after offering final Dua.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties represented in the Rehbar Committee discussed the options of collective resignations from parliament, country-wide strike and lockdown to move forward the protest against the government.

The opposition parties agreed to maintain contacts with government, but refused to budge from their demands of resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan and conduct of fresh general elections in the country without the supervision of the army.

"We want to remain in contact with the government, but the prime minister and defence minister say there is no question of resignation," Akram Durrani, Convener of Rehbar Committee said after nearly three hours long meeting.

Akram Durrani said the opposition parties were democratic forces and believe in talks, but the prime minister and defence minister should mind their language.

The JUI-F leader did not respond to a question about two days deadline and moving towards D-Chowk, but he told media persons that Rehbar Committee mulled over options of en-bloc resignations from the parliament, lockdown of the country, shutter-down strike and launching movement at the district level.

"We discussed all these proposals which the members of Rehbar Committee will take up with their top leadership," he said. Repeatedly pressed by media persons about moving towards D-Chowk, Akram Durrani said the decision should be left to Rehbar Committee.

The JUI-F leader said Rehbar Committee also warned the undemocratic forces to refrain from undertaking any extra-constitutional step while taking advantage of the present situation.

"Such step will be harmful to the country’s sovereignty," he said.

Akram Durrani pointed out it was the government, not the opposition, which was running away from agreement signed between Mufti Abdullah of the JUI-F and deputy commissioner Islamabad.

"The government created hurdles in way of peaceful processions coming from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and workers injured during the travel were refused treatment," Durrani said.

Meanwhile, a foreign news outlet, DW, reported that several leaders and activists of the JUI-F and ANP criticised the statement of the ISPR chief.