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Fazl Rehman vowed to topple ruling regime

03 November, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Saturday hinted at taking a ‘hard decision’ to ‘maintain the flow of the anti-government movement’, as opposition’s Rehbar Committee discussed different options, including mass resignations from assemblies, lockdown and blocking the highways.

Addressing the participants of the Azadi March in the federal capital, Fazl vowed to topple the ruling regime and run the country himself. “The writ of the incumbent government has ended … now we will run the country,” he told the rally on the second day. “We will provide satisfaction and protection to the country,” he said and asked the ruling regime to step down and don’t test their patience. “We will remain in the arena until we get rid of the government,” he declared, and also hinted at taking ‘hard decision’ in the next two days. “Our history is full of movements […] We have to take a decision by tomorrow (Sunday) or the day after tomorrow (Monday),” he said, adding that he will be evaluating options to ‘shift from this ground to a more effective ground’. “We don’t want to worsen the situation. Fifteen million marches in nine months are enough for the evidence that how organised we have been and how the participants of the marches maintained the law and order situation,” he noted.

Fazl strongly criticised the government over its economic policies and declared the ruling regime a ‘security risk’ for the country. He said the government in its first year borrowed more money than all previous governments collectively borrowed during the last 70 years.

He said that inflation increased during the tenure of the incumbent government, adding that value of the local currency has decreased from Rs105 to Rs160 against US dollar during the PTI’s tenure. “Poor people in Pakistan are unable to purchase ration for their children,” he said, adding that the country under the current government will further move down with each passing day.

Fazl said his party is functioning as per the earlier agreement with the government, however the Islamabad administration took certain steps which nullified the pact. He said women are very much part of the march as no one has pushed them aside. “Women are part of this protest, sitting at home and offering prayers,” he said, adding that from overall the situation, it can be imagined how much hatred prevails against the incumbent government.

The JUI-F chief said the government is wrong in its criticism over someone waving an Afghan Taliban flag in the protest. “This government doesn’t know a thing except abusing, hurling accusations and lying,” he said. “Someone waved an Afghan Taliban flag … the one whom you call terrorists were welcomed by Pakistan with presidential protocol … America engaged with them in dialogue … they were also welcomed in Moscow,” he said, adding that the ‘mischief’ could be a doing of the government to find something against the protesters.

Responding to PM Imran’s statement that the protest was getting massive coverage from India, Fazl said he was getting worldwide coverage as media from across the world ‘could not ignore them’.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference after a meeting of the Rehbar Committee, convener of the committee Akram Khan Durrani said all options, including resignations from assemblies, lockdown and blocking highways are under consideration. He said the opposition parties are standing by the agreement signed with the Islamabad administration but the government is backtracking. He also raised objection over the tone of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Pervez Khattak. He advised them to be polite while maintaining contacts with the opposition. He also announced that the opposition will decide its future course of action till Sunday (today) evening.

Durrani said the opposition is sticking to its demands of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation and the holding of fresh elections in the country. He said the opposition leaders agreed that the Azadi March’s objectives of the prime minister’s resignation and transparent fresh elections without the army’s supervision will remain in place.

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