Fazl extends ‘deadline’ for PM’s resignation

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Opposition to make final decision in APC; Decides not to end sit-in, says D-Chowk is quite small for a big gathering

Sarwar Awan

Islamabad

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday decided to give the government an extension in the previously announced “two-day deadline” for the prime minister to resign, and said the final decision would be taken by the opposition parties during an All Parties Conference.
A meeting of the JUI-F, chaired by the Maulana, ended with the JUI-F chief tasking the opposition’s Rehbar Committee head Akram Khan Durrani with convening an APC, the date and venue of which will be announced after contact is established with the opposition parties.
Deliberations on whether the parties wish to proceed to D-Chowk or not and whether the sit-in should be continued will be held during the APC meeting.
Addressing the marchers Maulana Fazl said, “They are asking us to go and file complaints with the election commission. Election Commission is even more helpless than us.”
Fazl said that if the election commission was not so helpless, such a large crowd wouldn’t have assembled in Islamabad. “We have decided not to go to any court or election commission,” he said. “Only a parliamentary committee will decide about rigging.” Fazl said that a case of the PTI’s foreign funding was being heard by the Election Commission since the past five years but no verdict had been given on it. “If it couldn’t decide about the foreign funding case then what decision can the ECP give on other matters,” he wondered. Fazl said that there was no option but to send the rulers home.
“These rulers will have to go,” he said. “You will have to give these people the right to vote.” Fazl said that D-Chowk was quite a small place for such a gathering. “H-9 is an open space—D-Chowk is quite small for a gathering like this,” he said. “Whatever decision we make, we will do so with consensus with all opposition parties,” he said. During the meeting Maulana Fazl decided not to end sit-in against government.
The meeting discussed the Rehbar Committee’s recommendations including resignations, shutter down strike across the country and countywide wheel-jam strike.
The JUI-F chief said this was not a gathering of any single political party but a gathering of whole nation, adding that the nation has stood against the government on one platform. He further said: “
We do not accept results of 2018 general elections.”
The Maulana said that the movement to oust the premier “will continue to move ahead and will never be on the back foot. We have a Plan B, a Plan C. This is only Plan A. Your jails will fall short of space.” Fazlur Rehman said to retreat is “equivalent to a major sin” at this point. While narrating a conversation with “a friend”, he said that he was recommended that he adopt a more forceful strategy to oust the premier. “He has said we will attack his (Prime Minister Imran Khan’s) house and arrest him. I address him (the friend) now: Try to understand. The determination with which we have come here, if we wish to advance, no one will be able to stop us but we are peaceful people. We will do no such thing.”The JUI-F chief asked participants “not to pay heed to the tone set by the media”.
“Trust your own self and trust your leadership. […] The decisions made by your leadership in your favour will take you far in the future.”
Fazlur Rehman said institutions have strayed far from the boundaries laid out for them within the Constitution. “Our army is becoming controversial. We cannot see it becoming so.” Rehman said that even the Supreme Court chief justice has pointed this out. “Every institution is crossing its boundaries and interferring where it shouldn’t.”
Fazl said that today the entire city had been closed down but he could shut down the country as well. “We will shut down the entire country as well and continue our war,” he said.
Fazl lashed out at Prime Minister Imran, saying that he doesn’t need to learn politics from him. “Do you expect this novice to teach us politics? Now people born with a golden spoon in their mouths will teach us politics and that too, the politics of the poor?” he asked.