PML-N Still Undecided Over Participation In JUI-F’s Azadi March
ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman has made it clear to the leadership of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that he plans to go ahead with his anti-government Azadi March come what may.
Sources close to the leadership of JUI-F told Naya Daur that although there is no deadlock in talks with the party, there are two groups in PML-N which have opposing agendas.
“PMLN is divided in two groups: Nawaz group and Shehbaz group. The Nawaz group includes Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pervez Rashid and Mushahidullah Khan et al while Ahsan Iqbal, Khwaja Asif and Ayaz Sadiq et al belong to the Shehbaz group,” the source added.
The source, who requested anonymity, went on to say that the Nawaz group wants to fully support JUI-F in its march against the government, but the Shehbaz group is hoping to strike a deal with the establishment.
Shehbaz Group Has Put Forth Four Demands
When asked on what conditions the ‘Shehbaz Group’ may agree to support the JUI-F, the source said that they have four demands.
“They want PMLN to be given a leading role in the march, and to have a say in the charter of demands. They also demand the march not be given a religious colour and that the PML-N should be consulted while deciding date for the march”, the source explained.
It further said that in any case, the PMLN would take a decision on September 30 and apprise the JUI-F leadership about it.
“They want us to extend the date till a few weeks as Shehbaz group is still busy trying to reach some sort of deal with the establishment” the source added.
Azadi March Might Be A Nightmare For Govt
Meanwhile, a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA told Naya Daur that the PTI is indeed worried about JUI-F’s march, but believed that it won’t have much impact without PPP and PML-N’s support.
“PMLN has 100 seats in the National Assembly and their participation in the march will certainly be a nightmare for our leadership” the PTI MNA said.
He also agreed with the notion that Shehbaz Sharif will join the march only after being certain that the talks with the establishment are not bearing fruits.
“We believe that Maulana Fazlur Rehman is a very shrewd politician who calculates each move. He will not take a step that can make or break his relevance in the present set up without getting signals from the powers that be”, the PTI MNA added.
JUI-F Was Not Approached By Saudi Arabia
The JUI-F shura member rubbished reports of the Saudi government asking Maulana Fazlur Rehman, on the behalf of the establishment, to postpone his march.
When asked if some elements in the establishment were supporting the JUI-F to get rid of Imran Khan, the JUIF Shura member smiled and said, “Certain things are better left untold.”
The source added that Maulana Fazlur Rehman is refusing to change his plan and has told his party to “be ready for any eventuality”.
The author is an Islamabad-based freelance journalist and contributes to different national and international papers and journals.