ISLAMABAD (Pakistan): Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Friday gave Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan NIAZI two days to resign “or else we will be forced to think of another strategy”.
Addressing the Azadi March on Friday, Fazlur Rehman while welcoming the leaders of political parties in Azadi March said that they will not be able to exercise any patience after two days.
The JUI-F chief said that this is a gathering of one political party but the gathering of Pakistani nation, adding that the whole nation has united under one platform today.
— Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Pakistan (@OfficialJamiat) November 1, 2019
Rehman is a veteran politician who can mobilise significant support in religious schools across the country.
He was joined at the rally by leaders of the country’s two main opposition parties.
Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari promised on Friday that they would send the “selected” prime minister home.
He was addressing the joint opposition’s rally in Islamabad. “You have conveyed a clear message to the federation by bringing all political parties together,” he told Fazl at the rally.
“The people of Pakistan want only parliamentary democracy. They do not recognise this selected and puppet system.”
Rehman blasted the government, asking what kind of Naya Pakistan is this? “People say we are using the religious card, but if the Constitution allows us to use Islam, I will use it. Who are you to stop me? Pakistan and Islam cannot be separated,” he said.
“We are peaceful people,” he said and added: “If the restrictions on the media are not removed, we won’t be liable to follow any restrictions on us.”
He added that the marchers did not want a fight with the institutions, but we want to see them be impartial.
“We are giving you two days to stop backing the government,” he said, asking the institutions to remain impartial.
Fazl expressed his readiness to have a dialogue with the institutions but said the government has to go. He asked the protesters if they were ready to ask for a resignation. “Stay peaceful. If we don’t get a resignation in two days, then we”ll make a decision,” he told the marchers.
Security was tight in Islamabad with the government and diplomatic sector – just a few kilometres from the rally site – sealed off, roads blocked by barriers of shipping containers.
Schools were closed, public transport suspended and internet services interrupted in some areas.
The army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, earlier urged Khan to handle the protest peacefully and avoid violence by both sides, a military spokesman said.
The government has said the protesters will not be allowed to paralyse the capital. Violence could erupt if crowds try to force their way into the sealed-off government sector.