No talks without PM’s resignation: Fazl

:JUI-F leader Durrani: Azadi March will "assume a new direction" in the next two days

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Staff Report

Islamabad

The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman on Thursday told the government not to “bother with negotiations” if the prime minister’s resignation is off the table.

The JUI-F chief, while addressing the anti-government protest participants, said: “There is no need for negotiations then. No need to come to us. When you come, you must come with the intention of leaving the corridors of power behind.”

Addressing the prime minister, Rehman said: “You are at a dead end now and now you must decide whether you want to continue to remain there or come out and give back the people their right.”

Fazlur Rehman censured the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf for employing “delaying tactics” in the foreign funding case pending with the Election Commission of Pakistan.

“Why is your foreign funding case still pending in the ECP for the past 5 years? Your own senior leadership has gone to the commission and have said funding came from India, Europe and many other places. You submitted 60 petitions in the court to delay the case. Every petition by the government has been rejected. Why has the election commission not been able to decide the matter?”

The JUI-F chief questioned why “when the entire party is a robber brigade” it is being allowed to continue.

Maulana Fazl said that the opposition leaders do not want NRO from Imran Khan, instead they will not give it to him.

He said that PM Imran himself hid the money laundering by his sister through an amnesty scheme and now he speaks of granting NRO concessions.

The JUI-F chief welcomed DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor’s recent statement that “Pakistan Army is an impartial institution and it wants to remain so.”

“I want to say this to the state institutions that consider them [JUI-F workers] your own people and they will always be with you,” he said in his address to the protesters.

He said the ‘Azadi March’ had removed some of the misconceptions the society had about the religious segment.

“Our workers have displayed discipline and respected the rule of law throughout the rally – something acknowledged by the western media s well,” the JUI-F leader told the demonstrators.

He repeated his earlier allegations that the 2018 general elections were rigged in favour of the ruling party, saying that rigging was known to all and there was no need to form a commission to establish the same.

Earlier addressing the protest, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai vowed that any “attack on the Constitution” will not be allowed.

“What binds us together is the Consitution and when you tamper with it, you attack the very foundations of Pakistan. We will not allow such an attack by any general, colonel, judge, mullah or pir.”

Earlier in the day, the JUI-F chief convened a session of the party’s parliamentary members at his residence in Islamabad.

He briefed the members regarding the party’s demands in its anti-government protest. All the members have been instructed to present the party’s stance in the National Assembly with full zeal.

During the meeting, the current political situation, as well as the plan of action for the National Assembly session, was discussed. It was decided that the government will be given “a tough time”.

Meanwhile, Members of the opposition’s Rehbar Committee said that they decided during their meeting today that the pressure on the government will be increased through the Azadi March.

They did not reveal what steps they plan on taking to put added pressure on the government, but said several recommendations are under consideration.

Addressing a news conference after a meeting of the opposition’s Rehbar Committee, JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani said the measures will be taken in the next few days and will be announced at an “appropriate time”.

Durrani said the opposition’s Azadi March will “assume a new direction” in the next two days.

He said new moves will emerge in the protest based on recommendations given during today’s meeting.

He also announced that fresh caravans of protesters are travelling to the capital from parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Separately, Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi met with Maulana Fazlur Rehman at his residence in Islamabad to find a way to end the sit-in.

Speaking to reporters after meeting, Elahi said he will convey “good news” to the nation very soon regarding negotiations.

Elahi said: “We are hopeful [and] things seem to be going towards betterment.”

He added that “many” recommendations are under consideration to break the ongoing deadlock.