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‘We Will Set the Demands’

by Newsweek Pakistan

Chief of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Maulana Fazlur Rehman. SS Mirza—AFP

JUIF chief continues dharna in Islamabad by demanding either P.M. Khan resign or Parliament be dissolved

The Azadi March will continue until either Prime Minister Imran Khan resigns or Parliament is dissolved, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said on Monday.

Talking to reporters in Islamabad, the JUIF chief said the opposition could always resign en masse from the assemblies or table a no-confidence motion against the premier but said this was the extreme option. “What is the use of fresh elections if an Army officer is present inside the polling station and a soldier is deputed outside?” he said, adding that the Election Act should be implemented in letter and spirit. He reiterated his earlier stance that the Azadi March represented the entire united opposition and not just his political party.

To queries, Rehman said he had no personal enmity with Imran Khan and was merely conveying the voice of the masses in demanding his resignation.

Earlier, addressing the Azadi March, Rehman said that negotiations between the government and opposition would not be beholden to the ruling party. It is the opposition, and not the government, he added, who would set the tone. “You have no right to come up with demands [on us],” he said, referring to the government.

Rehman, once again, slammed Khan as a ‘rejected’ P.M., saying the PTI risked unrest every day it maintained its hold on power. “He does not represent the Pakistani nation. We do not know whom he represents,” he said, in an apparent reference to Khan.

Referring to ongoing commentary from PTI and its supporters slamming the lack of women’s participation in the Azadi March, Rehman said it was mere propaganda. He said the JUIF’s manifesto guaranteed protection of women and minorities. “Female journalists here have been treated with respect unlike those who were humiliated during the 2014 [PTI-led] dharna,” he added.

He also slammed the PTI’s claims that the Azadi March was harmful to Kashmir’s cause, pointing to Khan’s statement from earlier in the year in which the prime minister had suggested the Kashmir issue could be resolved if Narendra Modi was re-elected as Prime Minister of India.

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