Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman announced on Thursday that the party will begin its anti-government ‘Azadi march’ on October 27.
“The current government is the result of a fake election and fake results,” said Fazl during a press conference.
The JUI-F chief said that all opposition parties had rejected the July 25, 2018 elections and had called for fresh elections. “In this regard, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal have carried out 15 ‘million marches’ in the country to raise awareness among the people,” he said.
“As a result of this illegal government and its incompetency, the country’s economy has sunk. traders have shut down businesses as a result of heavy taxation. The Muslims of Pakistan are in anguish over the state of religion in the country,” he continued. He said a meeting between JUI-F members was held on Thursday in which it was decided that on October 27 — the day celebrated by Kashmiris across the world as Black Day — the party will express complete solidarity with Kashmiris and with those demonstrations of solidarity, a march on Islamabad will begin.
“This will be an Azadi march. Groups of people from all over the country will embark on this journey which will culminate in Islamabad, where we will send the government packing,” he said.
“We will gather at D-Chowk,” he said, adding, “We are not ones to disperse easily.”
The JUI-F chief rejected the impression that he was “going solo” and said that the party is “in touch with all the other parties and making decisions in consultation with them”.
“We met Bilawal Bhutto sahib today and some very positive developments took place during our meeting. Yesterday you must have see the PML-N delegation speak. Some positive developments took place then, as well.”
When asked by reporters whether the PPP and PML-N will also participate in the sit-in alongside JUI-F or only the march that day, Fazl responded by saying: “The entire country is showing up. The trader community will be there. Doctors, lawyers are coming. We are in direct contact with people from all walks of life. I can speak for the readiness all these people have shown.”
A reporter then pressed the JUI-F chief for whether the above-mentioned people will include representatives from PPP and PML-N, to which he said, “InshaAllah”.
To a question regarding the one demand from which the party will not budge during the sit-in, Fazl stressed that the protest will continue “until the government steps down”.
Fazl smilingly brushed aside a mention of Shaikh Rasheed’s attempts to dissuade him from coming to Islamabad owing to a breakout of dengue in the city, saying, “We have no business with dengue.” He then twisted the word to mockingly refer to the prime minister with whom “his only concern lies”.
“We have no intention on making any changes and no one is asking us to change anything either,” he declared.
The JUI-F chief said the party will also work towards bringing in election reforms so a more transparent process is carried out for the “new elections”.
According to a source within the JUI-F four containers have been prepared for the sit-in against the government. “Work involving the decoration and furnishing of the containers is complete,” said the source, adding.