Opposition finally on same page on ‘Azadi March’

Rahbar Committee calls for PM’s resignation and fresh polls without ‘military interference’

Rizwan Ghilzai October 08, 2019
Rahbar Committee members address a joint press conference in Islamabad. PHOTO: ONLINE

ISLAMABAD: The joint opposition on Tuesday managed to iron out its differences over the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s ‘Azadi March’ and the Pakistan Peoples Party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and other political parties that are part of the alliance decided to participate in the anti-government movement on October 27.

According to sources, PPP and PML-N leaders will address the rally.

The Rahbar Committee, which comprises representatives of the opposition parties, after holding a meeting demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation and fresh elections without the interference of the military.

“We had a long discussion on the anti-government movement and decided not to delay it any further,” JUI-F’s Akram Durrani, the convener of the committee, told reporters after the meeting.

“The opposition stands united against the government. Our first demand is the resignation of the prime minister and the ouster of the government,” he said. “Our second demand is that fresh elections be held without any interference of the army,” he added.

Shah doesn’t see Fazl coming to Islamabad

Durrani said the opposition also wanted the implementation of all clauses of the constitution.

“There is no politician older than [JUI-F chief] Maulana Fazlur Rehman right now and he does not need to use the religion card,” he maintained.

The JUI-F leader said the ‘Azadi March’ would be organised in a peaceful manner. “In the past, the PTV and parliament buildings were attacked, policemen were beaten up and roads leading to the Supreme Court and parliament were blocked,” Durrani said referring to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) sit-in in 2014.

The JUI-F leader said the PTI government had destroyed the country’s economy, thousands had lost their jobs, factories were shutting down and traders were going on strikes.

“Doctors in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have boycotted hospitals for the past 12 days, 22,000 teachers of erstwhile Fata are protesting, the employees of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) are on the verge of going on a strike and the media is facing unprecedented restrictions.”

PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, who was accompanying Durrani, criticised the government for setting up the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority through an ordinance and ignoring parliament.

“This draft [for the CPEC Authority] was turned down by a parliamentary committee. By setting it up through an ordinance, the government has made it a controversial issue and undermined civilian supremacy,” he added.

PML-N rejects formation of CPEC Authority through ordinance

Speaking on the occasion, Mian Iftikhar of the Awami National Party (ANP) said the PTI government had imposed martial law in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The public will see on October 27 that we are all united,” he added.

PPP’s Farhatullah Babar said representatives of all opposition parties were sitting together in front of the media and that showed that they were all on the same page.

“CPEC and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have been handed over to the army through ordinances,” he added.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has called a party meeting on Wednesday (today) to chalk out his party’s strategy for the JUI-F’s Azadi March.

Similarly, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has also summoned a meeting of his party’s senior leaders on Wednesday to discuss the long march.

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