LAHORE (Dunya News) - Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Azadi March addressed the provincial capital of Punjab, Lahore, today (Oct. 30) and departed for its final destination, Islamabad, to topple the incumbent government.
According to the details, the JUI-F march is headed for the GT Road Islamabad. The caravan will depart to its destination after a brief stay in Gujjar Khan. Sources privy with the matter told the media on Wednesday that the marchers would move towards Gujjar Khan tonight, and the leadership would take the decision about spending the night after consultation.
The participants of the Azadi March had breakfast and lunch in Lahore. JUI-F workers who participated in the rally also adopted different approaches to attract the citizens.
JUI leaders also addressed at Azadi Chowk in Lahore. Maulana Fazlur Rehman said political protests had just begun. “We will send the government home under the purview of law and constitution”, he added.
Reception camps have also been set up for participants in several cities including Muridke, Gujranwala and Kharian. Azadi March will reach its final destination in Islamabad.
Importantly, the long march will not move towards Rawalpindi and instead will enter Islamabad.
Containers placed on many highways in Punjab have been removed for the marchers to proceed. The demonstrators have been holding party flags and chanting full-throat slogans against the government.
The representatives of the opposition parties including JUI-F, PPP, PML-N, Awami National Party (ANP) and others will announce the next course of action upon entering the federal capital, according to the announcement made by the leadership.
Thousands of people, including seminary students, are participating in the march. In addition, dozens of convoys representing various opposition political parties, including PPP, PML-N, ANP and others, have joined the march.
The traders associations, who have called for a two-day nationwide strike against the government’s “anti-traders” policies, established camps at Multan Chungi and Yateem Khana. Furthermore, traders’ bodies have warned the government of prolonging the strike if their demands were not met.
The march en route to Islamabad took public attention all the way through Hyderabad, Hala Mutyari, Nawabshah, Khairpur, Sukkur, Multan and reached Lahore in the wee hours of Wednesday.
Political workers of the opposition parties have been welcoming the marchers in every city they have been passing through.
Buzdar summons meeting
On the other hand, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Wednesday has summoned a high-level meeting to review law and order situation in the province. The meeting will analyse certain issues pertaining to providing security to the protesters participating in the Azadi March.
Besides, measures taken by the law enforcement agencies whose officials have been assigned duties at various welcome camps of the marchers will be considered.
Opposition, govt reach tough negotiations
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.