JUIF chief says the government has ‘2 or 3 days’ breathing space to consider its next course of action
Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday warned of “chaos in the country” if the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government did not step down, as his Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s ‘Azadi March’ reached Islamabad four days after setting off from Karachi.
“There will be chaos in the country if the government doesn’t step down,” he told Aaj News in an interview. “[If need be] we will fight for the resignation,” he added. In the same interview, he said his supporters would sit in Islamabad and give the government breathing space of 2-3 days to make their decision before taking any action. “It is for the people to decide what the next course of action will be [after that],” he said.
Earlier on Thursday, prior to entering Islamabad, Rehman told his supporters that they had several options once they reached the capital, including conducting rallies and staging a sit-in. He has yet to clarify fully how the ‘Azadi March’ hopes to convince P.M. Khan and his government to step down.
Joining Rehman on Thursday were members of the Awami National Party, whose president, Asfandyar Wali Khan, used the united show of strength to demand P.M. Khan’s resignation for “driving the country into its worst economic crisis.”
Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also visited the ‘Azadi March’ camp, and told the participants the entire opposition was united in calling for the resignation of Imran Khan. Branding Khan a “selected” prime minister who was little more than a “puppet,” Bhutto-Zardari said it was the masses and not the state that wielded ‘true’ power.
The initial plan called for a joint opposition rally in Islamabad after the protesters reached the federal capital, but this was postponed till post-Friday prayers after the Tezgam Express disaster that left over 70 people dead. Both Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shahbaz Sharif will address the ‘public meeting’ today in which it is believed they will communicate their immediate plans for the march.