The deadline the JUI-F gave Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign has passed and no resignation is in sight. The future of the Azadi March isn’t very clear, as JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman hasn’t made any announcements.
Instead, he called an all parties conference at his house in Islamabad today (Monday). The meeting will discuss what the future of the march is and how to proceed now that it has become clear that the government isn’t ready to accept their demand.
During his speech at Sunday’s protest, Fazl didn’t mention any future plans. Instead, he said the current rulers of the state would have to go home and order a snap election in the country.
He also said that they looked prepared for the achievement of their goal. “The issue is not about the resignation of one person, but votes of the people,” he said. “The nation is fighting a battle today to take back the votes it had entrusted.”
The JUI-F chief said the election commission was “helpless” which was why the people had gathered in the federal capital. “Such a massive rigging has taken place that there is no need to go to any institution,” he said.
“The rulers will have to go and order a re-election,” he said. “Today one city, Islamabad, is shut down; [we] will show them by shutting down the entire country.”
His opposition alliance may be in jeopardy. PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has announced that he isn’t going to participate in the Azadi March. He said the decision was made by the PPP’s core committee. But the opposition parties are on the same page, he said.
The PPP scion and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif have both said they will not attend the APC. The PPP will be represented by Nayyar Bukhari while the PML-N will be represented by Ayaz Sadiq.
At 2pm, the APC started. ANP’s Zahid Khan, Qaumi Watan Party’s Aftab Sherpao, PPP’s Farhatullah Babar, Pervaiz Ashraf, Naveed Qamar and Nayyar Bukhari, Achakzai, ANP’s Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Owais Noorani and JUI-F’s Akram Durrani and Abdul Ghafoor Haideri are all at the meeting. The PML-N delegation hasn’t arrived.
Speaking to the media in Lahore, Ahsan Iqbal said that PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif was supposed to attend the JUI-F’s all parties conference on Monday but could not because a PML-N meeting was already scheduled and he and other senior leaders were needed. We sent Ayaz Sadiq instead to represent us at the APC, he said.