Pakistan Govt Allows Opposition Parties’ ‘Azadi March’

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Imran Khan  said the protest will damage the Kashmir cause as attention will be diverted from the Indian lockdown

Islamabad, Oct 23 (PTI) The Pakistan government on Wednesday decided to allow the Opposition parties mega protest, which will be led by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazl in Islamabad on October 31.

In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said the decision was taken after consultations between Prime Minister Imran Khan and a team deputed to hold talks with the Opposition.

“It was decided that the government, with its firm belief in upholding democratic ideals, would allow the proposed Azadi March, if it takes place within the ambit of the law and the Constitution as interpreted in the decisions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Islamabad High Court,” read the statement.

It said protesters will be allowed to carry out the march as long as the everyday life of citizens is not adversely affected, in accordance with the past judgements of the Supreme Court and the High Court.

The Azadi March has been announced by Fazlur Rehman JUI-F chief. All major Opposition parties, including PML-N, PPP, ANP and PkMAP have announced their support for the ‘Azadi March’.

Fazl has said the election held in July 2018 was rigged to help Khan’s party. He has demanded Khan step down.

Meanwhile, Khan has told newsmen that he would never step down on the demand of the Opposition.

“Let me be very clear that I will not resign on the Opposition’s demand,” the premier said.

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He alleged the Azadi March was backed by foreign elements.

Khan said at first India was against the ‘maulanas’ but now the Indians were celebrating the idea of Fazl’s protest.

“Look at how the Indian media is celebrating Maulana Fazl’s protest,” he said.

He said the protest will damage the Kashmir cause as attention will be diverted from the Indian lockdown.

“Attention is being diverted from the Kashmir issue because of this march. We must think who will benefit from all of this,” he said.

Khan also said that his protest of 2014 was different as he had come with “a purpose and after exhausting all options”.

“We came out on the streets after exhausting all possible options which platform Maulana [Fazl] has used [to address his grievances] before coming out on streets?” he said.

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