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Azadi March reaches Islamabad after five-day travel

Maulana Fazlur Rehman will address the protesters after Friday prayers

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 31, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Oct 31, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

The Azadi March organised by the Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl has reached its final destination: Islamabad.

It entered Islamabad via Rawat Thursday night. The vehicles heading to Rawalpindi from the T-Chowk were called back.

The marchers were directed to follow the route plan and turn towards Islamabad.

JUIF chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman addressed the workers at a reception camp in Rawat. He told the attendees their “solidarity has evolved into a national slogan”.

“The people are conveying that an incompetent and illegal government isn’t acceptable to them,” Fazl said in his brief address.

The JUI-F chief, along with other opposition leaders, will address a rally after offering Friday prayers on November 1. The rally will be held in a ground near Islamabad’s H-9 sector.

Party workers and supporters departed from Karachi, joined the march from all the cities they stopped in and have started entering Islamabad today (Thursday) after five days. The march, which has the support of main opposition parties such as the PPP, PML-N, and ANP, aims to topple the PTI government.

The Awami National Party caravan has also reached Islamabad’s H-9 where the Azadi March demonstration is due to be held.

It is being led by ANP’s Asfandyar Khan Wali.

The marchers reached Gujjar Khan early Thursday morning. They left for Islamabad at 5pm.

According to the law enforces, more than 25,000 people are travelling with the JUI-F. His container is leading the march and others are following behind in their vehicles.

An announcement was made from the container that instructed the marchers to not misbehave with women journalists at the march.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is leading the protest, told his followers to follow him. “We have to stick together.”

He remarked that the march is both a rally and a sit-in. “We are peaceful people and we want to achieve our purpose peacefully,” he added.

On the Rahim Yar Khan train accident, he expressed his condolences to the families of the victims. More than 70 people were killed after a train caught fire early Thursday morning. “We demand that the accident should be investigated,” he said.

Rally controversy 

The march found itself embroiled in controversy after the PML-N leaders claimed that the demonstration for it has been postponed till Friday. The statement was issued by Ahsan Iqbal, who is a member of the Rahbar Committee. His claims were reiterated by Marriyum Aurangzeb and Uzma Bukhari.

Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, who is affiliated with JUI-F, in a press conference said that the rally will not be postponed at any cost. “All our people have started moving towards Islamabad. We don’t know how we will be able to accommodate them for another day in Islamabad,” he remarked.

JUI-F has said that all its rallies will reach Islamabad on Thursday.

Rallies from across the country will enter Islamabad by tonight. The marchers will stay the night in the federal capital.

Rallies leave for Islamabad 

An ANP rally, comprising Asfandyar Wali Khan and Mian Ifthikhar Hussain, left Peshawar at 12pm. The rally will join marchers in Islamabad.

A large number of JUI-F activists are on their way to Islamabad for the Azadi March from Peshawar. Photo: Online

JUI-F leaders Akram Khan Durrani, Maulana Ataur Rehman, Maulana Asad Mahmood left Peshawar at 2pm. They have been joined by PPP leaders and workers. PML-N workers, on the other hand, left via the Peshawar Motorway Interchange at 1pm.

Supporters from Malakand and Hazara divisions are on their way too.

Day 4 highlights 

The protesters departed from Lahore on Wednesday afternoon after gathering at Minar-e-Pakistan.

The Azadi March caravans reached Gujranwala at 11:45pm. Gujranwala is 60 kilometres away from Lahore and the protesters completed their journey in 12 hours. The protesters had passed through Jhelum, Ghagar Mandi, Lalamusa and Kharian.

Photo: Online

The JUI-F chief briefly addressed his supporters at Gujranwala’s Chanda Qila. All the political parties are on the same page, they agree that people’s mandate was taken away from them during the July 25 General Election, he said. “Today, we have set out for the safety and integrity of Pakistan,” Fazl said. “The people of Pakistan have to fight this battle.”

The Azadi March participants were welcomed by PPP’s Qamar Zaman Kaira in Lalamusa. During his stay, Fazl met representatives of different political parties.

PML-N and JUI-F had organised a grand welcome for the marchers in Jhelum. They chanted slogans to boost the morale of the protesters and showered them with rose petals upon their arrival.

Reporting by Roohan Ahmed, Khan Zamir, Sadaqat Ali and Zulqarnain Iqbal. Follow SAMAA English on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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