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November 18, 2019

JUI-F’s road blockade at four points goes on despite public resentment


November 18, 2019

PESHAWAR: The blockade of main highways at four busy points in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa continued for the fourth consecutive day on Sunday under the ‘Plan B’ of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F)’s Azadi March despite resentment among common people being affected by the suspension of traffic.

There have been reports of skirmishes between members of the public and the protesters at different points, especially in Mansehra. In some places a number of people sustained injuries as the public showed anger against the road blockades. However, JUI-F provincial President Senator Maulana Ataur Rahman rejected these reports as baseless. Talking to The News, Maulana Ataur Rahman said that old footage was being used on social media to spread lies about the blockade. “In some areas some minor incidents did happen, but the JUI-F workers remained disciplined to foil the designs of certain elements to provoke them to commit violence,” he said.

Currently, the roads are being blocked daily at four main points - Indus Highway at Bannu, GT Road at Hakimabad in Nowshera, Malakand Road at Chakdara and Karakoram Highway at Chattarplain in Mansehra. According to Abdul Jalil Jan, provincial spokesman for JUI-F, the road blockade starts at 8am every day and continues non-stop till 8pm.

Maulana Ataur Rahman, who has visited all the points where the roads have been blocked, claimed that thousands of people were participating in the protest at each point. The protesters stay round-the-clock at the protest points despite the harsh weather, he said.

“Our workers are peaceful. They ensure that no damage is done to any public or private property. They are, however, eager to continue the protest till all the objectives are achieved,” he explained.

He said that the ‘Plan B’ proved harder than the ‘Plan A’ that included the two-week protest sit-in in Islamabad. “Similar would be ‘Plan C’. However, it is premature to say as to when we would launch the ‘Plan C’,” he added.

Regarding participation of the opposition parties in the protests under ‘Plan B’, Maulana Ataur Rahman said it was nominal. “However, all the opposition parties unanimously stood firm behind the JUI-F by supporting the charter of demands,” he noted. He rejected the reports of any split in the ranks of the opposition parties, saying that the Rahbar Committee was very much active and all the decisions about the protest campaign were being taken by it.

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