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Azadi March – Thousands are gathered at protest area

Maulana Fazlur Rehman

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has given Prime Minister Imran two days to resign and go home. 

“We cannot show more patience,” he said. “We are giving two days’ time otherwise the people have the capability to enter the PM House by force and arrest the prime minister,” he added.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that the incumbent government has left the people of occupied Kashmir alone. He said that the people of Kashmir will fight for their independence and right to self-determination.

Fazl lashed out at Prime Minister Imran for linking his march to India.

“On the one hand, you are about to sign an agreement with India for Kartarpur and you’re making accusations against me,” he said.

He slammed the government for failing to live up to its promises. Falz said that the government had promised to build five million homes for the poor.

“They have demolished more than five million homes instead,” he said.

Fazl said that the prime minister had promised that his government would improve the economy to the extent that people from overseas would seek jobs in the country.

“Only two people have sought employment in Pakistan from abroad–the FBR chairman and the State Bank governor,” he said.

Fazl said that the rulers could not be allowed to further play with the people of Pakistan.

“Youngsters in this country are committing suicides. Rickshaw drivers are setting fire to their rickshaws,” he said.

Fazl said that the economy of the country had been destroyed and unemployment was on the rise.

Fazl responds to allegations of using religious card

The JUI-F chief lashed out at the government for alleging that he was using the religious card to instigate the masses.

“Who are you to deny me the right when our constitution talks about religion,” he asked. “Who are you to deny me my rights that are enshrined in the constitution?”

Bilawal Bhutto

Bilawal Bhutto is now addressing the Azadi March. The speech is unprecedented. He is emphasizing on independent electoral system without any interference of internal and external factors. PTI government is selected a selected government, he reiterated it. Media is not even unselected and partially coverage been given to Molana and former president. Why ban has been imposed on free media, bilawal asked. Bilawal has charged the crowd with his address. He thanked Molana for bringing together all political parties in one platform with a message that we believe in democracy and we are democratic people.

Shahbaz Sharif addressed the Azadi March

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has just addressed the Azadi march said, “Tabadeeli did not come before it will come now.”
He added, “Imran Khan Niazi you started container politics, today, here container politics will be buried here.”

“Today we see, that the Naya Pakistan was better or the old one. Under Nawaz medicines were free for the poor, today medicines have been taken from them.

Was that Pakistan better where there was no dengue or the one now where there is dengue now,” he asked. 

“This year, 50,000 have been affected by dengue,” he asserted. 

He added, “Everything is expensive today. We will make economy better in six months.”

“You started the container politics and you said you will burn down this parliament. Despite rigged elections we offered the  charter of economy, but you refused our offer,” he added.

Azadi March

Fazl-ur-Rehman, chief of the Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) party, has led a five-day march from the southern city of Karachi and through the length of the country with the goal of reaching Islamabad on Thursday.

“The government will have to hand over power back to the people,” he said on Wednesday night, addressing supporters in the central city of Gujranwala, about 200km (124 miles) south of the capital.

“They have destroyed the economy.”

The country’s main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have supported the JUI-F’s protest against Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which won last year’s controversial general election.

In Islamabad, thousands of JUI-F supporters gathered at a large ground designated for the protest, waving black-and-white striped party flags and cheering to political songs playing on loudspeakers mounted on pick-up trucks.

Mustafa, 33, a shopkeeper who travelled more than 250km (155 miles) from the northern town of Shangla to take part in the protest, said Khan “has not delivered … the things [he] promised on the campaign.

“Prices are now so expensive that we cannot afford anything,” added the 33-year-old.

Heavy contingents of police were deployed around the capital to secure the site of protest, but did not prevent citizens from taking part.

Since last week, the government has moved to strip Hafiz Hamdullah, an outspoken JUI-F leader, of Pakistani citizenship and arrested another major figurehead.

On Thursday, the government banned Ansar ul-Islam, the youth volunteer wing of the JUI-F, as a “terrorist organisation”.

The JUI-F has challenged the decisions against Hamdullah and Ansar ul-Islam in court.

Cyril Almeida, a Pakistani political analyst, said the government “should be worried” by the march.

“The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government is inexperienced and its ability to peacefully defuse a political crisis will be tested now,” he said. “If the government panics or overreacts and that sparks violence, matters could spiral out of control.”

The PTI swept to power for the first time in its 23-year history in that vote, winning 156 seats in the 342-member lower house of parliament. It also formed provincial governments in Punjab, the country’s largest province, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

All three main opposition parties allege Khan’s PTI party won the July 2018 vote through election rigging.

International election observers said they did not observe any serious violations on polling day, but added there were serious concerns regarding fairness in the run-up to the election, including intimidation of the PTI’s opponents and the filing of corruption cases and arrests of their political leadership.

Before the protest, some JUI-F leaders were outspoken in naming the country’s powerful military, which has ruled Pakistan for roughly half of its 72-year history, as being responsible for the rigging, a charge the institution denies.

Since the PTI came to power, political opponents – including the chiefs of the PPP and PML-N parties – have been jailed on corruption charges and news media have often been censored from covering opposition activities.

“We are democratic people, and this is not our government,” said Riwayatullah, 40, a protester. “It was brought here by someone else, and it has stolen our rights.”

Economic crisis 

One of the main drivers of the protest has been the PTI’s handling of the economy, with inflation at 11.4 percent amid slowing growth.

Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund predicted Pakistan’s economic growth would further slow to 2.4 percent next year, from its current forecast of 3.3 percent for 2019.

The PTI took power with Pakistan in the midst of an economic crisis, with spiralling current account and fiscal deficits, dwindling foreign reserves and a depreciating currency.

updated on 6:49 pm PKT | Mallahpost

Sources: News agencies.

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