LAHORE (Dunya News) – The anti-government Azadi March caravan led by political veteran Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman will reach Lahore on Tuesday.
The long march led by opposition parties including, JUI-F, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Awami National Party (ANP) and others will enter Islamabad on Oct. 31 where the party has announced to decide the next course of action.
Thousands of people, including seminary students, are participating in the march. In addition, convoys of political parties, including the PPP, the PML-N, the Awami National Party (ANP) and others, have joined the march.
The PPP has expressed full support for the massive demonstration being launched from Sindh – the province the party has been ruling since 2008.
Reportedly, the JUI-F has set up the camp at Thokar to welcome marchers and motivate the public to join the massive demonstration.
The traders associations, who have also called for a two-day nationwide strike against the government’s “anti-traders” policies, have established camps at Multan Chungi and Yateem Khana. The PPP leadership will welcome the participants in Samanabad area and the PML-N has set up its camp at Chauburji.
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) has established its camp at the Data Darbar and the Jamiat Ahle Hadith has set up a camp at Batti Chowk at the Ravi Road.
Containers placed on the borderline between Punjab and Sindh have been removed for the marchers to proceed. The demonstrators have been holding party flags and chanting full-throat slogans against the government.
Earlier today, firebrand politician Fazlur Rehman resumed the long march from Multan. In Sukkur, he was escorted by PPP senior leaders including Nisar Khuhro and Nasir Shah. Political workers of the opposition parties have been welcoming the marchers in every city they have been passing through.
Yesterday, the motorway police had dedicated one lane of the National Highway for the caravan of Fazl to proceed.
The march en route to Islamabad took public attention all the way through Hyderabad, Hala Mutyari, Nawabshah and Khairpur reached Sukkur.
Following Fazl’s instructions, it will move towards Pano Aqil and Ghotki to enter Punjab.
Following the nearly inflexible negotiations with the government on Saturday night, the Azadi March began from Karachi where the JUI-F finalised arrangements to kick off massive demonstrations against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Fazl had addressed massive gathering of the protesters at Sohrab Goth, and lashed out at the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for what he claimed “compromise” on the Kashmir dispute.
“We don’t accept the [general] elections held on July 25 and its results […] Imran Khan must resign,” he had said.
“The people of Karachi have responded to our call, I thank them for it […] I appreciate workers of all [opposition] political parties,” he had added.
“The government has resorted to uncivilised tactics […] after Hafiz Hamdullah’s matter of citizenship, they have arrested Mufti Kifayatullah.”
All buses and other vehicles have been transported to the specified spots for facilitating protesters.
The firebrand politician has been given every facility in his container so he could address the rallies at different points during the march.
On late Saturday, the government and the opposition’s Rehbar Committee struck a deal after entering into tough talks and breaking the earlier deadlock.
According to the terms and conditions of the Azadi March, the protesters will not enter into Islamabad’s Red Zone and instead will culminate their demonstration in H-9 area in Sunday bazaar grounds.
During a press conference after talks, government’s negotiation committee head and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak recalled Prime Minister Imran Khan’s promise that the participants will see no obstacles from the government as long as the protest remains peaceful.
According to the agreement, the government will not stand in the protesters’ way and neither will the participants face any difficulty in getting food delivered.
Importantly, the participants will not be allowed to venture far from the designated venue, whereas the responsibility of the internal security will lie with the organisers.
The leaders further pointed out that in case of a violation of the terms and conditions, and damage to lives or property, the relevant action as per the law will be taken.
Thousands of policemen have been tasked to prepare for any untoward situation and maintain law and order situation in the capital city. Police had held a drill to perform anti-riot exercises and learnt how to use water cannons to disperse protesters.
Effective security measures have been formulated for the safeguarding Faizabad Interchange and other entry points, including Rawat and Tarnol.
A two-layer security ring has been created around the Red Zone for security of government buildings. Hundreds of containers had been placed at the roadsides and greenbelts to use them in case need arise.
In June, Fazl had announced that his party had decided to hold an anti-government long march to Islamabad in the month of October in a bid to topple the government, which he sad had come to power through "fake" elections.