The JUI-F chief has decided to summon an All Parties Conference (APC) on the issue of sit-in.


ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday decided not to end sit-in against government.

The decision comes after an important meeting of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) presided over by Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

The meeting discussed the Rehbar Committee’s recommendations including resignations, shutter down strike across the country and countywide wheel-jam strike.

The JUI-F chief has decided to summon an All Parties Conference (APC) on the issue of sit-in, while head of the Rehbar Committee Akram Durrani has been tasked to contact the opposition parties for the APC.

Earlier, the opposition’s Rehbar Committee had recommended a plan to shift the protest venue to D-Chowk, resignation of opposition members of the National Assembly, blocking highways and indefinite shutter-down strike to cripple functioning of the federal government.

Fazl gave PM Khan two days to resign or else he said: "We will be forced to think of another strategy". Fazl, while welcoming the leaders of political parties in Azadi March, said they [the protesters] would not be able to exercise patience after two days.

The JUI-F chief said this was not a gathering of any single political party but a gathering of whole nation, adding that the nation has stood against the government on one platform. He further said: “We do not accept results of 2018 general elections." On Saturday, the JUI-F chief vowed to topple the ruling regime and run the country.

Addressing the participants of the Islamabad sit-in, he said that writ of the incumbent government has ended and now "we will run the country". He said: "We will provide satisfaction and protection to the country." Fazl asked the government to "step down and don’t test our patience". He vowed to continue protest until the toppling of the government.

On the other hand, the government while tightening the security arrangements, blocked the roads leading to the Red Zone. Around 8000 police personnel have been deployed from Zero Point to Red Zone and tear gas canisters, Shields and other items have been provided.

The district administration and police have blocked the Serena Chowk, Nadra Chowk, Express Chowk, Marriot and Bari Imam by parking containers filled with dust. Pakistan Army and Rangers have been deployed at the sensitive buildings.

DIG Operations Waqarud Din Syed said that they were ready to deal with any situation.

Law enforcers prepare if marchers violate agreement

Contrarily, law enforcers have been issued instructions to prepare and get ready for any untoward situation in case the protesters violate the agreement signed between the government’s negotiation committee and the Rehbar Committee. The local administration has been tasked to plan a strategy to resist marchers if they advance towards the sensitive Red Zone of Islamabad.

The government has strictly warned the demonstrators that if they violate the agreement, stern action would be taken against them in accordance with the Law.

Security is tight in Islamabad with the government and diplomatic sector - Red Zone - just a few kilometres from the rally - sealed off, with shipping containers used to block roads. All paths leading towards Red Zone have been blocked.

Sources say the law enforcers have already devised a plan to keep the protesters confined to the designated H-9 venue and not to allow them to move to some other place.

The federal government appears determined to block the Azadi March from leaving its designated protest site after Fazl threatened to march on D-Chowk today if the prime minister does not resign.

Interior Minister Ejaz Shah chaired a meeting attended by representatives of the army and Rangers, and the Islamabad chief commissioner and the police chief.

Meanwhile, thousands of additional policemen have been provided and deployed to the administration of Islamabad Capital Territory. Moreover, police’s complete command structure and anti-riot gear have also been provided to the administration.

Halwa March

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday termed what he called the failure of the halwa march “a success for Pakistan.”

In a post shared on Twitter, Chaudhry added: "The segment carrying out this march is the one that opposed the creation of Pakistan.

"Their elders were in opposition to Quaid-i-Azam [Mohammad Ali Jinnah]. Today they are opposing [Prime Minister] Imran Khan. The defeat of this segment is the key to the future of Pakistan and hopefully this matter is reaching towards its end."

Army says it supports democratically elected government

Pakistan’s powerful military said it supported the country’s elected government and the constitution. “We believe in the law and the constitution and our support is with the democratically elected government, not with any party,” military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said in comments to a television news channel late on Friday.

The military has denied meddling in politics and Khan has dismissed the calls to step down. The leader of the protest, religious party chief Fazlur Rehman, told a rally of tens of thousands of supporters that he did not want a “collision with institutions”, a thinly veiled reference to the military, and called on them to be impartial.

The ISPR said Rehman should know the military was impartial and it should not be dragged into politics. Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday urged the government to handle the protest peacefully.

The government, struggling to get the economy on track, has denounced the protests as a threat to the constitution and to democracy and has said it will not be allowed to paralyse the capital.

Rehman, leader of the conservative JUI-F party, is a veteran politician who can mobilise significant support in religious schools across the country. Protesters are camped out at the rally site, cooking food and resting.