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Government To Permit JUI-F Azadi March

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The government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided, after a meeting with its team assigned to negotiate with the opposition JUI-F, to allow Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman’s planned protest in the federal capital to proceed. Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman had announced in June his party’s intention to lead an opposition protest to Islamabad, terming it “Azadi March”. Opposition parties including the PML-N, PPP and ANP announced varying degrees of support.

The decision by the government to allow the Azadi March to proceed comes with clear conditions – protesters will be expected to remain within limits prescribed by the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court. Even as news came in of police in the federal capital preparing for any eventuality, which includes riot-control equipment, the government stated that it would uphold the democratic right of the opposition to protest.

Earlier, the JUI-F had made further negotiations with the government conditional on the authorities allowing the planned Azadi March to proceed.

Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman and his supporters currently intend to enter the capital around the 31st of October, at the end of this month. The party claims that it will enter Islamabad with 1 million protesters.

The JUI-F chief insists that the protest will be within constitutional limits. He was earlier quoted as saying:“We are neither staging any sit-in to oust the government nor are we going to lock down the cities,” he had stated.

Nevertheless, he and his supporters maintain that the current government is illegal and unconstitutional, having come to power through what many in the opposition have termed a “fake election” or “selection”.

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