ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has announced an end to the ‘Azadi March’ sit-in which has been underway for 13 days in the federal capital.
Instead, the party expanded its anti-government protest across the country.
The JUI-F chief reiterated his demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan and said that the movement will continue until he steps down.
Tens of thousands of opposition supporters had gathered in Islamabad to demand the ouster of the prime minister.
- Fazlur Rehman announces end to sit-in after 13 days; to begin country-wide protests
- JUI-F blocks major thoroughfares across country
- JUI-F demands PM's resignation; possibility ruled out by the government
- DG ISPR says the army is an impartial institution which supports legitimate governments; has no role in politics
November 15, 8pm
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has directed party activists not to stage sit-ins during night hours, considering the “difficulties” faced due to cold weather.
“We have shown our strength… our protest is not against the people but the government… we’re demonstrating outside cities such that a common man is not affected,” the JUI-F chief said in his address in Nowshera district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
He said the entire country had been closed down due to his “Road Azadi March”, adding that the movement would continue.
“In the days to come we will protest in cities to step up pressure on the government,” he added.
November 15, 7:44pm
JUI-F activists blocked major thoroughfares across the country as part of the party’s ‘Plan B’ of the anti-government ‘Azadi March’ after it brought its 13-day sit-in Islamabad to an abrupt end.
Read more here
November 13, 6:35pm
Maulana Fazl unveils 'Plan B'
Maulana Fazlur Rehman called off his party-led sit-in in Islamabad, and said that its participants will join the supporters who had taken to the streets.
“Our workers and common citizens have taken to the streets…since they are out on the streets and we are in Islamabad, hence it is clear that they await our help. We want to tell them that we will shift from here and support you,” he told the protesters.
He said the next phase of the protest, i.e. 'Plan B', had started, urging his supporters to remain peaceful.
The senior politician said they will try not to affect the life of common man – by protesting on highways, away from the cities.
He asked state institutions to support his movement, saying they should “respect and support this march”.
Full story here
November 13, 5:00pm
JUI-F leaders unveil 'Plan B'
Unveiling his party’s 'Plan B', Maulana Attaur Rehman said on Wednesday that the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) will start blocking main highways and roads across the country from tomorrow.
Attaur Rehman, the brother of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, said party workers would block the GT Road from Peshawar to Rawalpindi, the Indus Highway in Bannu, Shahra-e Resham in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Jacobabad Highway (Sindh-Balochistan border city) and other roads across the country.
November 12, 2:36pm
Fazl chairs crucial meeting
A meeting of JUI-F leaders is being chaired by Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the federal capital.
Members of the central executive committee, all four provincial chiefs, and other senior party leaders are attending the meeting.
The JUI-F leaders are deliberating upon a future course of action and a decision is expected to be taken today.
November 12, 11:00am
Firdous urges Fazl to shun negative politics
Special Assistant to PM on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan has urged JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to shun negative politics and adopt a more democratic manner of protest.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, she said the JUI-F should not undermine the system by making unconstitutional and undemocratic demands.
Firdous said, “Maulana [Fazl] is worried about why the genuine public rule has been established in Pakistan for the first time, instead of the rule of a few families.”
She asked the JUI-F chief not to exploit his workers to fulfil his own desire of being part of the parliament.
"Fazlur Rehman should wait for four years. He should allow his workers to go back home instead of making them brave such harsh weather conditions."
She also urged Fazl to raise his voice for the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and to justify the perks and privileges he received as chairman of the Kashmir committee.
مولانا مظلوم ورکروں کو اپنی پارلیمان میں جانے کی خواہش کی بھینٹ نہ چڑھائیں۔انہیں بے رحم سرد موسم کے حوالے کرنے کی بجائے باعزت گھر واپسی کی "آزادی" دیں۔ غریبوں کے بچوں، بزرگوں کی صحت اور سلامتی خطرے میں نہ ڈالیں۔آئین اور جمہوریت کے منافی مطالبے کرکے نظام کو نقصان نہ پہنچائیں۔
— Firdous Ashiq Awan (@Dr_FirdousPTI) November 12, 2019
November 11, 10:00pm
Maulana Fazl hints at executing ‘Plan B and Plan C’
Addressing the Azadi March sit-in, which completed its 12th day in the federal capital on Monday, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman hinted at executing his ‘Plan B and Plan C’ in order to increase pressure on Prime Minister Imran Khan over the demand of his resignation.
The JUI-F chief said he would continue the struggle to topple the “illegitimate and incompetent” government within the legal and constitutional limits. The 66-year-old firebrand cleric said he would keep increasing the pressure and consult with fellow opposition parties in this connection.
“The decision would further increase pressure on the government… we would spread this fight to fields and deserts.
“We neither accept this slavery nor would we ever allow any institution to remain a slave.”
Maulana Fazl reiterated his stance that the incumbent government came into power through rigging and his protest would only end with the resignation of PM Imran and announcement of fresh elections.
November 11, 4:00pm
WATCH: Azadi marchers indulge in ‘healthy activities’ during free time
A makeshift trampoline, traditional games and fitness challenges help #AzadiMarch participants break the monotony as the protest continues in Islamabad.
November 11, 3:33pm
Ansarul Islam takes out rally
Members of Ansarul Islam, the volunteer group of the JUI-F, have taken positions at the place of Azadi march in Islamabad.
Instructions are being given to Ansarul Islam to take out a rally from the sit-in site.
November 11, 2:40pm
Achakzai meets Fazl
Pashtunkhuwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai has met Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the federal capital.
The two leaders discuss the future course of action on ‘Azadi March’ as the sit-in enters day 12.
November 11, 9:00am
Opposition deliberates over ‘Plan B’
A meeting of JUI-F’s central leadership has been convened in Islamabad to discuss the implementation of its ‘Plan B’.
Sources said JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is chairing the meeting at his residence.
Provincial and district leadership of the party will discuss the ‘Plan B’ in the light of recommendations by other opposition parties.
November 10, 10:15pm
Joint opposition will devise future strategy, says Fazl
Addressing the protesters, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the struggle against the PTI government will continue and the next course of action would be devised by the leadership of the joint opposition with regards to Azadi March.
Commenting on Fata merger, he said the rulers had announced tax relaxation for the erstwhile tribal areas but ‘atrocious taxes’ are being imposed by the PTI government instead.
“Today, provinces are not prepared to give Fata its fair share… Rs1 billion were announced for Fata but not even a single penny is received thus far.”
Firing a broadside at the government of PM Imran, he said people considered this government to be backed by the power that be. “But we have put them to shame,” he remarked.
November 10, 9:15pm
PM’s resignation, fresh polls unanimous decision: Mian Iftikhar
Awami National Party (ANP) leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain, while addressing the participants of Azadi March in Islamabad on Sunday, claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan came into power through rigging.
All opposition parties are unanimous in demanding the prime minister’s resignation and fresh elections in the country, he said.
The ANP leader demanded that free and fair elections must be ensured under the supervision of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
“We will say yes to any decision taken by the joint opposition leadership.”
November 9, 9:30pm
Seerat Conference held at Azadi March
On the eve of Eid Miladun Nabi (Peace Be Upon Him), the JUI-F organised a 'Seerat-e-Tayyaba Conference' at its ongoing Azadi March sit-in in Islamabad on Saturday.
Various religious leaders, including JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, addressed the conference and spoke about the importance of following the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The conference began after Asr and continued till late into the night.
November 9, 12:00pm
Fazl condemns Babri Mosque verdict
Maulana Fazlur Rehman has condemned Indian Supreme Court verdict to hand over Babri Mosque land to Hindus for construction of a temple.
“The Indian Supreme Court's decision reflects a narrow mindedness,” said Rehman. India has miserably failed to protect the rights of minorities.”
November 9, 10:30am
Some participants return home after cold grips capital
Some participants of the sit-in started returning to their homes as the mercury dropped in the federal capital.
Compared to last week, the number of participants has reduced after a spell of heavy rains and clerics are urging people to join the sit-in through mosque loudspeakers in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
November 8, 9:15pm
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said he did not accept the 'fake' parliament let alone legislation passed through it.
“No legislation has taken place since formation of this parliament… their president promulgates 10 to 15 ordinances in one go and then these ordinances are hurried through the house,” he said.
“Let me assure you one thing, resolutions of a fake assembly like this and its legislations have no legal value. These are forced laws and the nation would never accept executive orders of the controversial prime minister.”
Conveying the message of ‘unity’ and ‘harmony’ to all state institutions, Maulana Fazl, in his address to the protesters, said they were expected to support all opposition parties in uprooting this “incompetent and illegitimate government".
He thanked and lauded PkMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai for accompanying him at the container.
Commenting on the ongoing negotiations with the government, he said, “We have conveyed the message to the government’s team to visit us when you have [PM Imran Khan’s] resignation with you”.
He lauded the sacrifices of armed forces for restoring peace in the country. “But, without our efforts and sacrifices you wouldn’t have achieved these successes,” he said.
“We didn’t give these sacrifices so that these evil rulers are imposed on us… If we can’t allow people to raise arms against Pakistan in the name of Islam then we also can’t allow Imran Khan to come into power through rigging,” the JUI-F chief said.
Giving message of unity and harmony to all state institutions, bureaucracy and the security establishment, he invited all to play their role in uprooting the “incompetent and illegitimate government”.
November 8, 4:30pm
Patience is wearing thin among some residents of the capital enduring another round of anti-government protests, with tens of thousands of opposition supporters showing no sign of giving up despite the onset of winter rain.
Huge crowds descended on Islamabad from various parts of the country a week ago, denouncing the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan as illegitimate and calling for him to step down.
PM Imran has dismissed the calls to resign and his government.
The protesters are occupying a large open area alongside one of Islamabad’s main roads, the latest in a succession of drawn-out sit-ins over recent years, including one PM Imran himself, led against the previous government.
Click here to read more.
November 8, 4:00pm
Govt negotiation committee meets PM
The government committee meets Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad and briefs him regarding the latest developments in negotiations with the opposition over JUI-F’s march.
November 8, 1:50pm
Only focused on Nawaz right now: Maryam
PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz says she is solely focused on helping her father recover as questions persist over her participation in the Azadi March.
"Politics will continue throughout life but our parents will not remain forever. I lost my mother a year ago, and now my complete focus is on Mian sahab," she said in a talk with reporters after an accountability court appearance in Lahore.
"I don't leave him [Nawaz] with servants and nurses, and I am with him 24/7."
Maryam's statement comes amid reports that despite PML-N’s claims of all-out support, the party will only continue to verbally back the JUI-F sit-in.
Read the full story here.
November 8, 12:45pm
Govt team not communicating real demands to PM: Khawaja Asif
Senior PML-N leader Khawaja Asif reminds the PTI of its role in the introduction of "dharna politics" in Pakistan.
"Pervaiz Khattak, you sowed the seeds for what you are facing today," he said, referring to the defence minister who is leading the government's negotiation team.
He claimed that PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervez Elahi has said the government's negotiation committee "is not communicating the opposition’s real demands to the prime minister".
Asif also opposed the induction of assembly speakers and the Senate chairman in the government’s negotiating team.
"You people should be an advocate for democracy, not any particular party."
Asif said the opposition will be forced to move the Supreme Court if the government does not stop "disrespecting the constitution".
November 8, 12: 15pm
Khattak urges opposition to engage in dialogue
Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak has invited the opposition to come to the dialogue table for the sake of democracy, constitution, and law in the country.
Responding to a point of order raised by PPP leader Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, he said the opposition talks of democracy and law, but it is not ready to sit on the dialogue table to sort out issues.
He accused JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman of treating the negotiations with the government "as a mere timepass".
"If you [Maulana Fazl] stand speak for democracy, then this [Parliament] is where your voice should be heard. You can keep sitting in Islamabad but please do not harm the country," Khattak said.
He also criticised the opposition for not exercising the democratic options available for redressal of their concerns.
"We raised our concerns over rigging at every forum before launching our protest. What has the opposition done; which forum have they approached?"
He said the people of Pakistan have rejected the opposition parties in the general elections and they should accept voters' verdict.
To another point, Khattak said the Constitution of Pakistan allows the government to promulgate ordinances.
November 8, 12:00pm
Sparks fly in heated NA session
The National Assembly witnessed a heated session on Friday as government and opposition lawmakers traded barbs over the ongoing Azadi March.
Former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf questioned NA Speaker Asad Qaiser's induction in the government’s negotiating team.
"Mr Speaker, you are the custodian of this house. Why are you becoming controversial? This government is bent on making every institution controversial," said the PPP leader.
Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, who is heading the government's negotiation team, also addressed the assembly amid uproar from the opposition benches.
"Prime Minister Imran Khan has chosen me to head the government’s negotiation team. I included the Senate chairman and speakers of the national and Punjab assemblies in the team to facilitate me," Khattak asserted in his NA address.
He warned the opposition that the current situation would not last for long. "This [anti-government protests] cannot continue. This is not how we will run this country."
"If you [Maulana Fazl] stand for democracy, then this [Parliament] is where your voice should be heard. You can keep sitting in Islamabad but please do not harm the country," Khattak said.
Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur said he was ready to vacate his seat to contest a by-election against JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
He urged Fazl Rehman to end his sit-in and prepare for a by-election to prove his popularity.
In his response, JUI-F leader Assad Mahmood said he was ready to tender his resignation if Gandapur did the same.
Another PTI minister, Murad Saeed, questioned the validity of the opposition's criticism of the government.
"It is strange to see the opposition criticising us. Khawaja Asif had a UAE iqama when he was foreign minister of this country. It was Khawaja Asif who declared Prime Minister Imran Khan an "Islamist" to appease the Americans and portray the PML-N government as liberal and enlightened," he said.
The assembly has now been adjourned to meet again at 4pm on Monday.
November 8, 10:00am
Maryam Nawaz to stay away from Azadi March
Despite PML-N’s claims of all-out support to the Azadi March, the party will only continue to verbally back the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F’s) sit-in.
Party sources say that even Maryam Nawaz will not participate in the sit-in.
Maryam’s secretary and a senior a party leader said that she would not resume any political activities to solely focus on her father’s health.
The leaders further said if their party was not a part of the sit-in, it also did not want to leave Maulana alone at this juncture.
Read the full story here.
November 7, 8:40pm
'Govt at a dead end'
Maulana Fazlur Rehman told the government not to "bother with negotiations" if the prime minister's resignation was off the table.
"There is no need for negotiations then. No need to come to us. When you come, you must come with the intention of leaving the corridors of power behind," he said in his address to the protesters.
"You are at a dead end now and now you must decide whether you want to continue to remain there or come out and give back the people their right."
DG ISPR’s statement welcomed
The JUI-F chief welcomed DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor’s recent statement that “Pakistan Army is an impartial institution and it wants to remain so.”
“I want to say this to the state institutions that consider them [JUI-F workers] your own people and they will always be with you,” he said.
He said the ‘Azadi March’ had removed some of the misconceptions the society had about the religious segment.
“Our workers have displayed discipline and respected the rule of law throughout the rally – something acknowledged by the western media s well,” the JUI-F leader told the demonstrators.
Maulana Fazl repeated his earlier allegations that the 2018 general elections were rigged in favour of the ruling party, saying that rigging was known to all and there was no need to form a commission to establish the same.
Foreign funding case
He censured PTI for employing "delaying tactics" in the foreign funding case pending with the Election Commission of Pakistan.
“Foreign funding case against PTI is pending with the election commission for five years… PTI’s senior leaders have alleged that the party received billions in illegal transfers,” he said.
The head of the right-wing political party alleged that Aleema Khan, a sister of Prime Minister Imran Khan, owned assets worth billions in Dubai, UAE.
PM Imran introduced an amnesty scheme for her sister, he said.
November 7, 04: 20pm
Deadlock is over PM’s resignation, early elections: Khattak
Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, head of government's negotiating team, has said that the deadlock between the government and the opposition is over PM Imran’s resignation and early elections in the country.
Speaking to the media today, Khattak predicted that “Maulana Fazl might be here [in Islamabad] till the 12th”.
“Our talks are underway with the opposition. The opposition can bring a no-confidence motion whenever they want to.”
“Chaudhry Pervez Elahi is only facilitating talks with the opposition. The government’s negotiation committee will take any final decision,” Khattak clarified.
“Our members also in contact with Shehbaz Sharif and others,” he added.
November 7, 03:22pm
Elahi meets Fazl in Islamabad
Efforts to break the deadlock between the opposition and the PTI-led government continue as the Islamabad sit-in enters its seventh day.
Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi is meeting JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman again in the capital. The PML-Q leader will brief Fazl on his discussion with PM Imran Khan.
Elahi, who is a member of the government’s negotiating team, is meeting Fazl for the fourth time in two days.
He told the media on Wednesday that negotiations were progressing, calling for patience as "there are many processes underway at the same time".
Elahi and his cousin, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, had also called on the 66-year-old JUI-F chief on Monday night.
November 7, 11:30am
Fawad confident there is 'no threat' to govt
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry believes the Azadi March does not pose a threat to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government or the security of the federal capital, Islamabad.
"Any attempt to destabilise Pakistan will be foiled and no one will be allowed to hinder the country's path to progress," the minister said in a talk with reporters on Friday.
He also criticised JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl for misguiding madrasa students.
"His [Fazl's] own children are not participating in the sit-in. In the past, he sent madrasa students to Afghanistan and now he has brought them here [Islamabad] for his personal interests," said Fawad.
November 7, 10:45am
PTI parliamentarians to meet at 3pm
Prime Minister Imran Khan has called a meeting of PTI parliamentarians at 3pm in Islamabad.
The meeting has been convened to formulate a strategy to deal with the opposition's imminent protest in today's National Assembly session, which is scheduled to commence at 4pm.
The meeting will also discuss the Azadi March with a particular focus on the negotiations underway with the opposition.
November 7, 10:00am
Rahbar Committee to meet at Durrani's residence
The opposition's Rahbar Committee has called a meeting at JUI-F leader Akram Durrani's residence in Islamabad.
The meeting, expected to commence at around 2:30pm, has been convened to chalk out a future plan of action as the Islamabad sit-in enters its seventh day.
Durrani will also brief the Rahbar Committee members on Maulana Fazl's meeting with the Chaudhrys of Gujrat.
Some scenes from the JUI-F dharna site in Islamabad
November 6, 11:20pm
SCBA, PBC want Justice Isa reference in JUI-F’s charter of demands
Superior bars have approached JUI-F, requesting it to add withdrawal of the presidential reference against Supreme Court judge, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, in their ‘charter of demands’.
Newly elected Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Chairman Syed Qulbi Hassan and Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Syed Amjad Shah on Wednesday visited the site of ‘Azadi March’ in Islamabad. Protesters are gathered in the capital demanding that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s year-old government quits.
Both bar leaders, in their respective addresses, supported the march and also met JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
November 6, 10:00pm
Khattak rejects impression of deadlock
Defence Minister, Pervez Khattak has rejected the impression that there is a deadlock with the opposition over ‘Azadi March’.
Talking to a private news channel, he has said all political parties in the country want to find a way through the discussion.
“The government had offered the opposition to bring evidence, if they have any, of alleged rigging in the last general elections,” said Khattak.
He also has assured a commission will be set up provided the opposition has evidence to support their claim.
November 6, 9:30pm
Marches and dharnas are a political activity: DG ISPR
In response to JUI-F’s demands of re-elections with no role of the army in the electoral process, Major General Asif Ghafoor has responded saying that marches and dharnas are a political activity and the Pakistan Army, as a state institution, has nothing to do with politics.
In a television interview, DG ISPR also said that the Pakistan Army had supported the then democratic government during the dharna staged by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 2014.
“The army had followed the government instructions at that time. The army, as an institution, had deployed troops for the security of important buildings and performed other tasks assigned by the government,” the military spokesperson said. “The army follows the government’s orders.”
Read here for details.
November 6, 7:30pm
Fazl lauds marchers
JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman appreciates protesters for braving harsh weather conditions.
“If we can survive rain and stormy winds then nothing can stop us from achieving our targets," he said in his address to the protesters.
Pervaiz Elahi meets Maulana Fazl
Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi met JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at his residence in Islamabad for the third time in two days to discuss in detail peaceful conclusion of ‘Azadi March’.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, the PML-Q leader said efforts were in place to take the protest demonstration to its logical conclusion peacefully.
November 6, 01:30pm
More talks today to break logjam
The government’s negotiating team and the joint opposition’s Rahbar Committee will continue their talks in Islamabad today in a bid to break the ongoing deadlock over JUI-F's ‘Azadi March’.
Both the parties were unable to reach a breakthrough in their second round of talks yesterday with the latter refusing to budge from its demand for the prime minister’s resignation and fresh elections and the former seeking a “middle ground” to end the impasse.
Click here for details.
November 6, 12:25pm
Firdous wants Fazl to step out of ‘self-deception'
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan wants JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to step out of ‘self-deception’.
In a series of tweets criticising the sit-in in Islamabad, she said, “Maulana, step out of self-deception and do not bother the public. You have failed in [your] scheme. Do not attack the democratic process and insult public mandate like a group of people who were rejected in the general elections."
سیاسی تنہائی کا شکار مولانا ذاتی مفادات کی عینک اتار کر دیکھیں تو پتہ چلے گا کہ پاکستان تنہائی کا شکار نہیں۔وزیراعظم عمران خان کی قیادت میں نئے پاکستان کا تشخص پوری دنیا میں ابھر کر سامنے آرہا ہے۔
— Firdous Ashiq Awan (@Dr_FirdousPTI) November 6, 2019
Awan added that 'New Pakistan' was emerging under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
November 6, 11:38am
PM Imran expresses concern for the well-being of protesters
Prime Minister Imran Khan has tasked the Capital Development Authority (CDA) chairman to visit the sit-in site “to assess what relief and assistance can be provided” to the protesters.
I have directed the CDA Chairman to immediately visit the dharna site to assess what relief and assistance can be provided to the dharna participants with the onset of rain and changing weather conditions.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 6, 2019
The premier issued the instructions after the federal capital was lashed by a thunderstorm on Tuesday night.
November 6, 11:30am
Living conditions difficult for protesters after rain
The spell of cold weather in Islamabad after Tuesday night's rain has made conditions difficult for participants of JUI-F’s Azadi march as the sit-in enters its seventh day.
The temperature in the federal capital dropped to 15-degree centigrade.
Wind uprooted several tents and some protesters had to take shelter in police containers while other protesters spent the night in a nearby metro station.
Apart from Islamabad, thunderstorms are expected in most parts of the country and snowfall is also likely over high mountains during the next twelve hours.
WATCH: #JUIF #AzadiMarch participants hold on to tents as thunderstorm lashes federal capitalhttps://t.co/N4iZFFxhMc pic.twitter.com/yy5MEySu0e
— The Express Tribune (@etribune) November 6, 2019
Two protesters die
Two more elderly participants of the protest passed away after suffering cardiac arrest.
On Tuesday, an elderly man had died at venue of the anti-government sit-in.
According to district administration, 70-year-old Maulana Saifullah and 62-year-old Maulana Akhtar Hussain belonged Khuzdar and Noshki districts of Balochistan.
November 6, 11:00am
Political conspiracies diverting attention from Kashmiris: Fawad
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has said that “the way our internal political conspiracies have diverted our attention from the Kashmiris, one should be ready to deal with the immense losses in this regard".
The minister took to Twitter on Wednesday and said: “Modi’s next target is the Indus Waters Treaty. Wonder, how India has been tolerating Pakistan’s share of water. Pakistan has no time to even blink an eye. Be ready.”
ہماری اندرونی سیاسی سازشیں جس طرح کشمیریوں کی حالت زار سے ہماری توجہ ہٹائے ہوئے ہیں اس کے شدید نقصان کیلئے تیار رہیں، مودی کا اگلا نشانہ سندہ طاس معاھدہ ہو گا، بھارت پاکستان کے حصے کے پانی کو پتہ نہیں کیسے برداشت کر رہا ہے، پاکستان کے پاس آنکھ جھپکنے کا بھی وقت نہیں ، تیار رہیں
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) November 6, 2019
November 6, 10:00am
Closure causes Metro Bus to suffer around Rs55m loss
The Metro Bus Service has faced a whopping loss of more than Rs55 million under operational cost and revenue heads due to closure for the sixth consecutive day on Tuesday owing to the Azadi march of JUI-F.
Thousands of commuters including office workers, students, traders, and government officials were facing extreme difficulties due to closure of the service which runs between the twin cities.
Punjab Metro Bus Authority (MBA) had shut down Metro Bus operations in the twin cities on October 30, the day protesters descended on the federal capital.
Click here for details.
November 5, 9:27pm
Won’t settle for anything less than early elections: Maulana Fazl
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said his party will not accept anything other than fresh elections.
“We stand firm on our demand that this government came into power through rigged elections, and we will not accept anything other than re-elections,” he told his party supporters encamped in Islamabad.
Fazl said the government formed a parliamentary committee to probe alleged rigging in 2018 polls but to no avail.
“The probe committee headed by Pervez Khattak did even not hold a single meeting in a year,” he said. “Objections were not raised during PTI’s 126-day-long sit-in in 2014 but today our ‘Azadi March’ is being criticised, saying it would set a bad precedent if the government was toppled.”
He repeated his criticism of the government’s economic and foreign policies.
“No one dared changing the status of Indian Occupied Kashmir when I was the chairman of Kashmir committee but this incompetent government has sold the Kashmir issue,” he said, referring to New Delhi’s move to revoke IOK’s special status on August 5.
November 5, 4:40pm
No breakthrough in second round of talks
The second round of talks between the government's negotiation team and the opposition's Rahber Committee has ended in Islamabad without any major breakthrough.
"We [the opposition] are still firm on our demands. All nine opposition parties are on the same page as regards our four demands," JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani said at a press conference after the meeting.
Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, who is leading the government’s negotiation team, said: "The talks were held in a very cordial environment. We are still hopeful of finding a middle ground; our discussions and efforts will continue after we consult with our respective leaderships."
November 5, 3:20pm
Govt negotiating team reaches Durrani's residence
A negotiating team of the government comprising Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Asad Umar, Noorul Haq Qadri, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and the opposition members have reached JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani's residence in Islamabad.
The government team will begin the second round of negotiations with the opposition's Rahber Committee.
November 5, 12:00pm
Govt's negotiation team meets PM Imran
The government's negotiation committee met Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Prime Minister's Office in Islamabad.
The meeting comes before the committee embarks on a second round of talks with the opposition's Rahber Committee scheduled for later on Tuesday.
Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi briefed PM Imran on their interaction with the Rahbar Committee on Monday.
Elahi also updated the prime minister on his late Monday night meeting with JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
According to sources, PM Imran said the government was willing to entertain all of the opposition's demands except for the call for his resignation.
He also urged the government's negotiation team to earnestly engage with opposition leaders if they showed seriousness in ending the deadlock.
Read here for details.
November 5, 11:30am
Maulana is going soon, says Sheikh Rashid
Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid is confident that Fazlur Rehman's would soon be gone from Islamabad.
"These problems will be resolved in a day or two," the minister said in a video message on Twitter.
He expressed satisfaction over the government's handling of the protest and said it would soon produce results.
“مولانا جا رہا ہے” ۔ وزیر ریلوے شیخ رشید احمد کا مولانا فضل الرحمان کے لانگ مارچ / دھرنے پر تازہ ترین تبصرہ۔@ShkhRasheed @LalHaweli @PTIofficial @ImranKhanPTI @PTIKPOfficial @PTIOfficialISB @PTIOfficialRWP pic.twitter.com/nYMuuWXOGw
— Shoaib Ameer (@ShoaibAmeer19) November 5, 2019
November 5, 10:45am
Awan advises Fazl to be careful with choice of his words
Special Assistant to the PM on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan has reaffirmed the government's commitment to resolving all issues with the opposition through dialogue.
“Maulana Fazlur Rehman is a senior politician and I hope he will not tread a path that leads to his permanent ouster from Pakistan's political sphere,” she said while talking to reporters in Islamabad on Tuesday.
Awan also warned Fazl to be careful in his choice of words for the democratically elected prime minister.
She added that the JUI-F chief should also be careful of not hurting national interests and the Kashmir cause.
Click here for details.
November 5, 10:15am
Govt team, Rahbar Committee to meet today
The government's negotiation committee and the opposition's Rahbar Committee will resume talks at 3pm.
The government committee, led by Federal Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak, will meet the opposition's committee headed by Akram Khan Durrani of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Isalm-Fazl (JUI-F) in Islamabad.
November 4, 8:41pm
Maulana Fazlur Rehman said all opposition parties have conveyed their full support to ‘Azadi March’ during the All Parties Conference.
“All rumours of a rift among opposition parties have died down today,” he said in his address to the protesters.
Fazl said just the way it was in 2014, Imran is on one side whereas all other political parties on the other.
“Before he was ‘selected’, now he’s ‘rejected,” he said.
November 4, 7:30
Govt teams reach out to protesting parties to end deadlock
Two different negotiating teams of the government reached out to the JUI-F on Monday to break an impasse in the wake of the opposition’s ‘Azadi March’.
The first delegation, led by Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, met with the Rehbar Committee at Fazlur Rehman’s residence in Islamabad, however, both indicated that neither side signalled signs of conceding any ground.
Rehbar Committee presented the opposition’s four demands, including the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan and fresh elections in the country without the supervision of the military. The government demanded the committee to end the sit-in.
The government’s team also included Speaker Asad Qaiser, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri and former finance minister Asad Umar.
Hours after the negotiating team met with the Rehbar Committee, another government delegation, led by former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain met with the JUI-F Chief Fazlur Rehman to discuss their demands.
Talking to the media on the occasion, Elahi said that he had come for reconciliation and expressed the hope that all issues would be resolved amicably. He added that he would apprise Prime Minister Imran Khan about their talks with the JUI-F chief.
Read full story here.
November 4, 7:20pm
Time for you to go: Ayaz Sadiq to Imran Khan
PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq said every segment of the society was protesting against the government and it was time for Prime Minister Imran Khan to step down.
“Bas kero Niazi [enough is enough] your time’s up,” he said. “Prayer treatment [Dua aur dawa], will both be used against you…you’ll be cursed.”
He said the rising inflation, injustices and political victimisation could not be tolerated anymore.
November 4, 6:47pm
2.5 million protesters in attendance: Ashraf
Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf criticised the PTI government for “failing to deliver on its promises made before the 2018 elections”.
In his address to the protesters, the PPP leader claimed that at least 2 to 2.5 million people were attending the anti-government sit-in.
“If Imran Khan, with a few hundred protesters could demand resignation of the prime minister then why can’t this massive sit-in with around 2 to 2.5 million in attendance, do the same,” he said.
Ashraf all opposition parties were on the same page in demanding Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation.
November 4, 5:40pm
Army as an organ of the state will continue to support national institutions: COAS
Pakistan’s top military commanders put their full weight behind state institutions and vow that reversal of security gains would not be allowed at any cost.
Addressing the 226th Corps Commanders’ Conference at GHQ, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa says Pakistan Army as an organ of the state will continue to support national institutions as and when asked in accordance with the Constitution.
“We have attained better internal security and stability through cohesive national efforts and sacrifices rendered by Pakistan’s armed forces, all national institutions and above all the nation,” he was quoted as saying at the meeting.“We shall not let it reverse to suit any vested agenda at any cost,” he added.
Read the full story here.
November 4, 3:47pm
The lighter side of 'Azadi March'
In contrast to the fiery speeches and angry chants, here are some sights showing the lighter side of the #AzadiMarch as protesters settle in for the long haulhttps://t.co/N4iZFFxhMc pic.twitter.com/bSvts9OMRQ— The Express Tribune (@etribune) November 4, 2019
November 4, 2:24pm
All Parties Conference held
An All Parties Conference (APC) was held at the residence of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
The meeting was attended by oppsosition leaders, including Ayaz Sadiq, Nayyar Bukhari, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Zahid Khan, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Aftab Sherpao, and other opposition members.
The APC deliberated on the future strategy of the JUI-F’s 'Azadi march'.
Opposition’s APC begins in Islamabad. Central General Secretary @MianIftikharHus and Spokesperson Zahid Khan are representing Awami National Party. #Azadi_March pic.twitter.com/pA69wDwa4U
— Awami National Party (@ANPMarkaz) November 4, 2019
November 4, 01:11pm
State comes first and then politics: PM Imran
PTI leader Babar Awan called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad and discussed the overall political situation of the country.
Awan said the premier has reassured of the government’s commitment and said, “State comes first and then comes politics.”
PTI leader Babar Awan calls on #PM @ImranKhanPTI, discuss overall political situation of country https://t.co/9LxX2U1csv pic.twitter.com/lfTYkmU11Y
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) November 4, 2019
“We will not let the state become weak. In the eyes of law, everyone is equal and the same law is applied to everyone.”
“The dharna is a violation of the Supreme Court’s decision. The protesters had conditional permission for the jalsa only and not to stage a dharna.”
“Because of JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Kashmir cause has vanished from the scene,” the PM added in the meeting with Awan.
Click here for details.
November 4, 12:39pm
NA session convened on November 7
A National Assembly (NA) session has been convened on November 7. It is expected that the lower house will discuss the ongoing ‘Azadi March’ in Islamabad.
According to sources, Prime Minister Imran Khan will also take the NA into confidence over opposition demands in the session.
Sources also confirmed that members from the opposition benches will also be allowed to speak on the topic.
November 4, 11:10am
Public has to make do with PM Imran: Fawad
Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry says Prime Minister Imran Khan is currently the only true leader in Pakistan.
Speaking to reporters in Karachi, the minister said there is no better person than Imran Khan to rule Pakistan.
“Right now, there is no alternative to Imran Khan […] if there is no other option, then the people have to make do [with him] for five years.”
Fawad said the PTI’s 2014 sit-in in Islamabad was for electoral reforms and was organised after a year of approaching the courts and electoral commissions. “[JUI-F chief] Maulana Fazl, on the other hand, does not even know the purpose of his sit-in,” said the minister.
November 4, 11:00am
Govt decides to approach Fazl directly for talks
The PTI-led government’s negotiating team, headed by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, has decided to hold direct talks with JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at his residence today and not the opposition’s Rahbar Committee.
During a meeting of the negotiating team at the residence of Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani on Sunday, the members agreed to take on board PML-Q’s Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Ilahi in order to make the talks successful.
Sanjrani and Qaiser had suggested to take on board the Chaudhry brothers to which the members of the negotiating team unanimously agreed.
Click here for details.
November 4, 10:30am
Time for introspection, not, retribution
By the time these lines go for print, the two-day ultimatum given by JUI-F chief Mualana Fazlur Rehman to Prime Minister Imran Khan, seeking his resignation, would have already expired. But Imran has made it abundantly clear that he will not step down.
Hence the JUI-F’s demand is a non-starter. What course of action will Maulana resort to in that scenario? Will he lead his followers to march towards D-Chowk, the famous venue where Imran had staged the 126-day-long sit-in?
Read the opinion piece here.
November 4, 10:00am
PPP, PML-N in a quandary over dharna participation
The PPP and the PML-N are still in two minds over whether or not they would participate in the JUI-F’s sit-in in Islamabad as Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s religio-political party is stealing the thunder from the two major opposition parties.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Sunday said his party had already announced that it would not participate in the JUI-F’s sit-in in Islamabad but might reconsider if its core committee decided otherwise.
Similarly, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has called a party meeting on Monday (today) on the instructions of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to decide its future course of action.
Read the full story here.
November 3, 9:44pm
PTI government has to go: JUI-F chief
[fbvideo link=" https://www.facebook.com/etribune/videos/571007983727448/"][/fbvideo]
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman says that the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led “PTI government has to go”.
“This [PTI] government has to go… and [the opposition parties] don’t have any other option but to give the masses right to elect their representatives.”
Talking about the role of state institutions in the country, he says that democratic institutions are made redundant and masses rather than relying on their votes look somewhere else for government.
Read the full story here.
November 3, 8:30pm
JUI-F likely to extend deadline for PM’s resignation, call APC
The Maulana Fazlur Rehman-led JUI-F has reportedly decided to extend its two-day deadline for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation by 24 hours and call an all-parties conference (APC) to devise a future course of action in connection with Azadi March.
The decision was taken at a party meeting, chaired by Maulana Fazl at his residence in Islamabad, sources told Express News.
Consultation over devising future strategies were discussed at the meeting as the deadline expires tonight, they added.
Read the full story here.
November 3, 8:10pm
Hafiz Hamdullah thanks workers for protesting over his citizenship fiasco
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Hafiz Hamdullah thanked the participants of Azadi March for protesting against the government’s move of revoking his Pakistani citizenship last week.
The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) cancelled and digitally impounded the CNIC issued to the JUI-F leader after declaring him ‘not a citizen of Pakistan’.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC), however, suspended Nadra’s move two days later. The court also gave Nadra two weeks to submit its reply on the matter and barred the interior ministry from taking any action against Hamdullah.
Firing broadside at the PTI government while addressing the sit-in on Sunday, he accused the ruling party of the country’s economic and administrative woes. He also accused Prime Minister Imran of “selling Kashmir” to Narendra Modi.
“You [PM] prayed for Modi’s victory in Indian elections despite his manifesto of annexing the occupied valley and dividing it into three union territories.”
November 3, 7:00pm
PML-Q leadership urges Fazl to use ‘reconciliation’
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who is also the Punjab Assembly speaker, have contacted JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and pursued him to ease tensions with the PTI government.
Both Shujaat and Elahi spoke with the JUI-F chief over the phone and discussed the current situation with regards to his Azadi March sit-in.
The provincial assembly speaker is also a member of the government’s negotiating committee.
Sources told the local media that PML-Q chief Shujaat congratulated Maulana Fazl for “stealing the show” with his sit-in in the federal capital. He also felicitated the JUI-F chief for emerging as the “leader of two main opposition parties – PPP and PML-N”.
Shujaat, however, expressed concern over ‘wrong impression’ created through the JUI-F chief’s statement involving the military. He also urged Maulana Fazl to resolve the issue through reconciliation.
November 3, 6:30pm
Educational institutions to remain open on Monday
Despite security concerns owing to the opposition’s Azadi March sit-in in the federal capital, all government and private schools, colleges and universities will remain open in Rawalpindi tomorrow (on Monday), District Education Authority CEO Kashif Azam told the media on Sunday.
All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association (APPSMA) President Abrar Ahmed Khan has also announced that all private schools, which were shut due to Azadi March last week, will reopen tomorrow.
November 3, 4:40pm
Bilawal doesn’t rule out joining Fazl-led dharna to oust PTI government
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari announces that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will not be a part of any sit-in unless the party’s core committee decides otherwise.
“The people of Pakistan do not want to bear the burden any more of a selected government that has failed to deliver on its promises,” Bilawal said in an interaction with reporters in Bahawalpur.
Commenting on Fazlur Rehman’s call for PM Imran’s arrest, the PPP chairperson said the JUI-F chief never threatened to carry out the deed himself and had only articulated the sentiment of the crowd.
Bilawal also assailed the PTI-led government’s foreign policy, questioning the decision to pursue the Kartarpur initiative despite India’s illegal and brutal actions in occupied Kashmir.
“If the situation was not as dire in occupied Kashmir, we would have encouraged this stance too. Right now, though, the government needs to clarify its foreign policy.”
The PPP chairperson also reiterated the demand for the resignation of Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed in the wake of the Tezgam tragedy.
“Imran Khan was the first to demand resignations when such accidents occurred during other parties’ rule. I hope he walks the talk now, particularly given the number of accidents on Sheikh Rasheed’s watch,” said Bilawal.
November 3, 2:30pm
PM Imran vows no reprieve for opposition
Prime Minister Imran Khan rules out any possibility of reprieve for opposition leaders, saying that any sort of agreement with them would be tantamount to treachery with Pakistan.
In a message on Facebook, the premier said the protesters encamped in Islamabad were only interested in striking a deal like the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).
"They just want to hear three words ‘NRO’ from me, which I will not utter as it will amount to treachery with the country," said PM Imran.
He reiterated that Pakistan could never progress without accountability of those who had allegedly plundered the nation's wealth.
“Unless they are held accountable, the country could not be put on track of progress,” he said.
November 3, 12:30pm
JUI-F chief summons meeting of party leaders
JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has summoned a meeting of his party’s top leadership, including members of the party’s central and provincial commands.
Reports suggest the meeting has been called for consultations on future course of action as the two-day deadline for PM Imran Khan’s resignation expires on Sunday.
After deliberations with party leaders, the JUI-F chief is expected to make an important announcement later today.
November 3, 11:30am
Nation won't allow Fazl to use religion card: Firdous
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan says the nation is well aware of the tactics of JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman and would never allow him to use the religion card for his vested interests.
In a series of tweets, she said it was regrettable to see Fazl threatening anarchy in Pakistan by bringing innocent seminary students onto the streets.
She said PM Imran Khan would neither strike any sort of deal with the protesters nor afford them any relaxation in the accountability process.
November 3, Ball is now in your court, NA deputy speaker tells Fazl
National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri has urged JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman to honour his agreement with the government and refrain from entering the capital’s Red Zone.
"He [Fazlur Rehman] will be allowed to carry on his protest but at the venue decided in the agreement," said the PTI leader.
Suri said the JUI-F chief was a senior politician and the government expected him to stay true to his word. "As a precaution, though, authorities have still secured the Red Zone," he added.
"Parliament is the best platform for opposition parties to raise their reservations over last year’s general elections. They would be well advised to use that option,” said the deputy NA speaker.
November 2, 8pm
‘Incompetent rulers risk for Pakistan’
Maulana Fazlur Rehman said inept rulers had become a risk for Pakistan.
In his address to the protesters, the JUI-F chief said the current government had worsened the economy and the loans taken in the last one year was more than the credit taken in over 70 years.
He said devaluation and inflation had a devastating impact on a common man’s life.
“Pakistan’s situation will move towards a decline if this government is given more time,” he said.
The JUI-F chief vowed to remain peaceful and achieve one target after the other by remaining within the constitutional limits until the “illegitimate government” was ousted.
“You must realise that you are not in power any longer and your writ has ended … now we control the country, and we’ll run the country peacefully, stabilise its crippling economy and protect every segment of society.”
Maulana Fazl reiterated his demand for PM’s resignation, asking him not to take advantage of his ‘civility’.
Women involved in protest ‘virtually’
Reacting to the criticism from certain quarters over no participation of women in the march, Maulana Fazl said every society had its own norms and values, and no woman was stopped from participating in the protest.
“Our women are participating in this protest from their homes,” he said. “They are fasting and praying [for our success]… we have women in legislatures.”
He added that even female journalists were fulfilling their responsibilities and covering the march without any hindrance.
'Give them a chance to vote'
He said the government was insisting on talks within law and constitutional limits but “the rulers should first prove their legitimacy". “The masses have come for the supremacy of law and constitution... resign, and give the masses their constitutional right to vote and elect their representatives.”
He claimed that there was unanimity among the opposition parties in their demand for the PM’s resignation.
“We are united and shall remain together [until the demands are met],” he said. “Rahber committee has decided… moving towards D-Chowk is among the options.”
‘Quaid and Iqbal’s Pakistan’
The JUI-F leader said he aspired Pakistan to be a country as envisioned by Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
He criticised the incumbent rulers over their “failed foreign policy”.
‘Pakistan has become isolated because of your follies… India is your enemy, Afghanistan and Iran are outraged… China is disappointed… where do you stand today… what is your foreign policy,” he said, adding that even Pakistan’s permanent friends were not supporting the country at United Nations now.”
He said India was “really Happy” over Imran Khan becoming the prime minister as now “he had succeeded in annexing Kashmir”.
Issue over Taliban flags
The veteran politician said the government was wrong in its criticism over someone waving an Afghan Taliban flag in the protest.
“This government doesn’t know a thing except abusing, hurling accusations and lying,” he said. “Someone waved an Afghan Taliban flag… the one whom you call terrorists were welcomed by Pakistan with presidential protocol… America engaged with them in dialogue… they were also welcomed in Moscow.”
He said the ‘mischief’ could be a doing of the government to find something against the protesters.
Responding to PM Imran’s statement that the protest was getting massive coverage from India, Fazl said he was getting worldwide coverage as media from across the world “could not ignore them”.
Full story here.
November 2, 6:47pm
Opposition's Rahber Committee head Akram Khan Durrani says recommendations including en bloc resignations and countrywide shutter-down strike were under consideration if their demands were not met.
He was addressing a press conference along with other members of the opposition in Islamabad.
All opposition parties are unanimous in their demand for fresh elections, he said.
Full story here.
November 2, 06:22pm
It’s treasonous to incite people to arrest PM, says Aitzaz
Senior leader of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Aitzaz Ahsan has strongly criticised a statement from JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman as treasonous in which he appeared to be inciting people to arrest the prime minister.
Read more here.
November 2, 04:45pm
Government rejects demand for PM Imran's resignation
In a press conference, the head of the government's negotiating committee, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said Prime Minister Imran Khan's "resignation was out of the question".
The reply by the government comes after the JUI-F chief had demanded the PM's resignation within two days on Friday night.
Khattak warned the leaders of opposition parties that the government will not show leniency if they backtracked from the earlier agreement reached with the government.
The defence minister said that the government would approach the court against Fazl’s threat of forcibly arrested the premier. "It amounts to mutiny and we will be submitting our plea in court on Monday," he said.
When asked about a demand by the opposition to reverse the extension given to the army chief, the government's negotiating team categorically denied that it was one of the demands by the protesting parties.
He clarified that the army is playing a "completely neutral" role.
Full story here.
November 2, 3:39pm
Govt's negotiating team to hold press conference shortly
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Broadcasting and Information Firdous Ashiq Awan announced that the government's negotiating team will hold a press conference at the Parliament House shortly.
Earlier, members of the team had also met PTI's core committee in the capital.
Click here to read more.
November 2, 3:11pm
At least 8 'Azadi March' activists arrested in Islamabad
At least eight activists of the anti-government protest in Islamabad were arrested after authorities said they were waving flags of foreign and banned outfits. According to reports, the activists have been moved to an undisclosed location.
“No one will be allowed to advocate malicious elements against the state in the name of Azadi March,” said Islamabad Deputy Commissioner (DC) Hamza Shafqat.
Some of the JUI-F leaders asked the Islamabad Police to release the arrested activists. They also threatened that no agreement would be followed if the activists were not released within an hour.
November 2, 2:17pm
NA speaker contacts senior ANP leader Mian Iftikhar
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has contacted Awami National Party (ANP) senior leader Mian Iftikhar during which he requested for a meeting.
“I have told the NA speaker that after the Rehbar Committee’s meeting today, I will be able to respond to him,” said Mian Iftikhar.
During the telephonic conservation, Qaiser repeated the government’s condition that there should be no violence during the march. Mian Iftikhar told him that his party was already a "supporter of peace".
November 2, 1:55pm
PTI core committee meets in Islamabad
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) core committee is meeting in Islamabad to discuss the prevailing political situation of the country. Members of a government's negotiating team are also participating in the meeting.
The meeting is deliberating over devising a strategy for holding talks with the protesting opposition parties.
November 2, 1:17pm
Govt negotiating team meets in capital
A negotiating team of the government met at the residence of Senate chairman in Islamabad today. The team deliberated over devising a strategy for holding talks with the protesting opposition parties in JUI-F’s ‘Azadi March’.
The same team will also leave for Bani Gala shortly. They are likely to discuss their plan further with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Read the full story
November 2, 1:15pm
Rehbar Committee to meet today
The opposition’s Rehbar Committee will meet today at JUI-F leader Akram Durrani’s residence. The meeting is expected during afternoon hours.
Leaders from the PPP, PML-N, ANP and others are expected to attend the meeting.
November 2, 12:45pm
WATCH: Traffic official helps a differently-abled man reach Azadi March
Traffic constable Amir Baig gives a helping hand to a differently-abled man on his way to participate in JUI-F's #AzadiMarch in Islamabad. The video of his act has since gone viral. The Islamabad police chief has also announced a Rs10,000 cash award for Baig pic.twitter.com/UUNk05ZwfK— The Express Tribune (@etribune) November 2, 2019
November 2, 12:38pm
Symbolic funeral held at the protest venue
The participants of the ‘Azadi March’ held a symbolic 'funeral’ of the PTI government at the protest venue. However, JUI-F leaders told the participants from the stage that such an ‘unprecedented practice’ would not be tolerated.
“If someone is seen involved in such a practice, action will be taken against them,” said JUI-F leaders and warned, “No one must not go against the discipline of the party.”
November 2, 12:30pm
‘Five families are challenging the writ of the state’
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Saturday claimed that five families, taking part in the ‘Azadi March’, were attacking the writ of the state.
اگر غور کیا جائے تو اس وقت کنٹینر پر وہ پانچ خاندان ہیں جو ہمیشہ سے اس ملک پر حکمرانی کرتے رہے ہیں یعنی ، مفتی محمود خاندان ، اچکزئی خاندان ، ولی خان خاندان ،بھٹو خاندان اور شریف خاندان ۔۔۔— Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan (@Dr_FirdousPTI) November 2, 2019
اب وہ حکمرانی اپنی اولادوں تک پہنچانے کے لیئے ریاست پاکستان پر حملہ آور ہیں ۔۔۔۔۔ pic.twitter.com/rspTmbPRjI
Sharing a picture of the opposition on Twitter, she said Mufti Mehmood, Achakzai, Wali Khan, Bhutto and the Sharif families had been ruling this country and want to continue the cycle of nepotism by passing on power to their children.
Read the full story
November 2, 12:15pm
'Don't dare to underestimate PTI government'
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Saturday warned the opposition not to mistake the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government as weak.
The minister took to social media and said the government was exercising self-restraint on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Dont dare to under estimate #PTIGovernment we are exercising self restraint because @ImranKhanPTI has desired so, if he makes a call these bunch of opportunists ll not find a place to hide in Pakistan
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) November 2, 2019
Fawad noted if the premier wanted, he could make a phone call to deal with the matter, warning the Azadi march leaders – including PPP, PML-N and JUI-F – that they would not find any place to hide.
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November 2, 11:00am
Fazl pulling out of pact with govt: Khattak
Defence Minister Pervez Khattak has said that Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman was backtracking on the agreement between the government and opposition parties on the ‘Azadi March’.
“We will not contact the Rahbar Committee for two days as per our agreement,” he added.
The defence minister said the government will hold talks with the opposition if required.
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November 2, 10:45am
PM calls party meeting to discuss ‘Azadi March’
Prime Minister Imran Khan has called a meeting of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s core committee on Saturday (today) to discuss the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) ‘Azadi March’.
Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, the head of the government committee formed to negotiate with the opposition parties on the JUI-F rally, will brief the participants of the meeting.
The negotiating team held a meeting at the Parliament House on Friday after JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s speech at his rally in which he gave two days to the government to step down.
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November 2, 10:15am
There are many ways to read the political situation we are in. Now that Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s march has reached Islamabad, some are obviously fearing the worst — a disruption of some kind.
Then there are those who have convinced themselves that the movement has already lost steam and will not be able to hold out for long. There are those who think that it is a broader conspiracy against the state.
Then many believe that the dying old political order is trying to recapture lost ground from the incumbent civil-military collective. And of course, how can there be any dearth of people who seem convinced that nothing noteworthy can happen in the Islamic Republic without the tacit support of the country’s security establishment.
Finally, some of our colleagues are even convinced that the change at the top is just a matter of formality and they don’t mind discussing alternatives with the foreign press.
Read the complete opinion piece here
November 2, 10:00am
Nobody allowed to create instability in Pakistan: DG ISPR
The Pakistani military is an impartial state institution which always supports democratically elected governments in accordance with the Constitution, said the chief military spokesperson late Friday night hours after the JUI-F chief asked the ‘state institutions’ to stop supporting the ‘illegitimate government’.
“Maulana Fazlur Rehman is a senior politician. He should clarify which institution he is talking about,” DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor said in a television interview. “Pakistan’s armed forces are an impartial state institution which always supports democratically elected governments,” he added.
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November 2, 9:15am
PM snubs calls for his resignation
Prime Minister Imran Khan has snubbed the crescendoing calls for his resignation, saying the opposition parties have led their so-called ‘Azadi March’ into the capital because they want to pressure his administration into dropping corruption cases against them.
“They want an NRO, but I want to tell them that I’ll not give NRO to anyone,” said the prime minister while addressing a public gathering in Gilgit. He was referring to a notorious law – National Reconciliation Ordinance – promulgated by the then military ruler Pervez Musharraf to drop hundreds of cases against top politicians in the name of political reconciliation.
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Fazl calls PM Imran to resign in 48 hours
Maulana Fazlur Rehman called on Prime Minister Imran Khan's government to step down within 48 hours.
"They have not come to power on the public's mandate but on someone else's direction... they won't work for the public rather they will only please their selectors," Rehman told his supporters from a makeshift stage.
"This is a peaceful rally and we are peaceful people, therefore we want to stay peaceful otherwise this (crowd) has the strength to go to the prime minister's office and arrest him," said Rehman.
"You have two days to resign," he added.
Earlier in the day security forces blocked the main entry points to the city with shipping containers but protesters streamed into the capital.
Earlier, other opposition figures and leaders spoke ahead of Fazl's address.
"The time has arrived for us to get rid of this illegitimate government," PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, told protesters.
"After one year in power, 220 million Pakistanis are screaming but the time has arrived for Imran Khan to scream."
PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari continued in the same vein, saying that the opposition’s show of power had clearly conveyed to PM Imran and his government that their time was up.
“This is a selected government and its policies have proven that public welfare has never been a consideration for them. The people of Pakistan have never and will never accept this government,” he said.
The PPP leader criticised the government’s economic performance and said the masses had been burdened more than at any point in Pakistan’s history.
November 2, 9:00am
In pictures: Azadi March rallies in federal capital
Thousands of Jamaat-e-Ulema-Islami Fazl (JUI-F) protesters rallied in Islamabad on November 1 after spending days travelling across the country, calling for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government to step down.
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