Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has put to rest all speculation about what he calls ‘Azadi March’ announcing on Thursday that the “march to oust the PTI government would begin on October 27”. But the government has decided against creating any hindrance in ‘Azadi March’ in Islamabad on October 27.
The decision came after the party submitted a written assurance to the local administration, insisting their protest at D-Chowk will be peaceful, sources close to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) confirmed on Saturday.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman on Saturday said that his ‘war’ with the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf would only end when he had sent the government packing.
Talking to the media in Peshawar ahead of his Azadi March against the ruling party scheduled for later this month, Rehman said that the entire country would be turned into a war-zone for the political spectacle.
In the past, ‘Islamabad lockdown’ threats have been a weapon of choice with groups and parties opposed to the policies and plans of sitting governments. Did these ever work? Results were not very encouraging, though. But, invariably, such threats played havoc with the life of man on the street.
There is still confusion whether it would be a solo flight of the party or it would have concrete cooperation and support of other opposition political parties especially PML(N) and PPP. Leaders of the two major opposition parties had a meeting where they agreed to request to Maulana to delay his programme for March on Islamabad but apparently he has not responded positively to their suggestion.
The PPP maintains that it is as opposed now to the change of government through sit ins as it was in 2014. While willing to work for the removal of the government through fresh elections, the PPP and PML-N are averse to a recourse to any means that could destabilise the system.
Fazlur Rehman’s threat actualize into complete shutdown of Islamabad, it would be nothing but an apocalypse for the capital’s residents. And, the PTI government may still survive – With the umpire on the administration’s side, how can the protesters force the PTI government to resign? However, an incisive look into the plan to march on the capital exposes its hollowness – just as it did by flopping the opposition’s no-confidence motion against Senate chairman Sanjrani. In days to come, he would be meeting other members of the Rahbar committee and heads of opposition parties. Quite curiously, he has described his plan as “Azadi March” as one would think it would be in support of Kashmiris, but he says it is “to get rid of the incompetent and illegitimate government” of Imran Khan.
Less than three weeks left for preparations, it is to be seen whether JUI-F succeeds to put up an impressive show. On the other hand, KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has declared that his government would not allow anyone to cross the province and lists are reportedly being prepared of the JUI(F) leaders and active workers for their arrests before the deadline, which is reflective of unease in the governmental camps.
Accepted, in functional democracies there is nothing wrong to plan the ouster of a sitting government. But that should be the force of vote in parliament, especially in the light of our political history which tells us that such marches and movements quite often tolled the bell on the very process of democratic governance.
Activities like processions and sit-ins are means to air grievances and there should obviously be no obstruction until and unless one has violent agenda. The use of force could create more problems, political uncertainty and sense of insecurity.