Shibli Faraz, the Leader of the House in the Senate, on Monday, remarked that Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) appears to want to be arrested in order to “emerge as a hero”, however, the Imran Khan-led government has no intention of arresting Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Speaking to a private news channel, Shibli Faraz said, “Maulana Fazlur Rehman is in a bit to get arrested so he can emerge as a hero. However, the government does not intend to give Maulana such importance by detaining him.”
— DawnNews (@Dawn_News) October 21, 2019
Earlier in June Maulana Fazlur Rehman had announced the anti-government Azadi March in October, with the agenda of toppling the Imran Khan-led government. Earlier, he had set the date October 27th for the March, however, after the government’s decision for express solidarity with occupied Kashmir on its Black Day against Indian brutalities, the long march has been postponed to October 31.
Maulana wants to get Arrested
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator said, “Measures will be taken in accordance with the law to maintain the law and order situation.”
Reports reveal that Senator Faraz explained that the divisions amongst the opposition parties have become evident after the meeting between Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and the JUI-F delegation were canceled. The PTI senator explained that this meeting was convened to begin negotiations between the government and the JUI-F.
For the first time, in almost two decades, he is out of power corridor—no representation at the federal, and two provinces level so he wanted to stage a comeback
Giving predictions about the fate of the upcoming Azadi March, Faraz foretold that the march was doomed for failure. He added, “Maulana Fazlur Rehman should deliberate over what will come after the march.”
The PTI Senator issued a clear warning, “Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s politics will come to an end should the sit-in protest result in failure.”
On Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan had set up a seven-member team, led by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak to initiate negotiations with the JUI-F and other opposition leaders before the upcoming march. On Saturday, Maulana Fazlur Rehman had given his consent to the JUI-F Secretary General Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri to meet with the Senate Chairman, who is also a member of the PTI’s negotiating team.
However, on Sunday, Maulana Fazlur Rehman stopped the JUI-F delegation from meeting Senate Chairman Sanjrani, stating that the decision of negotiating with the government will now be made by the opposition’s joint Rahbar Committee.
The Rehbar Committee, which represents all the leading opposition parties, is due to convene today at the residence of JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani, to deliberate over whether talks should be held with the PTI government’s negotiation team.
Maulana’s Moment in Limelight
Speaking to GVS on the agendas behind the JUI-F’s Azadi March, Jan Achakzai, notable political analyst, observed that after failing to obtain political representation in the federal and provincial government, Maulana Fazlur Rehman is eager to make a widely publicized comeback.
He said, “Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s strength lies in his muscle power (i.e. Madrasa students) and his experience of power politics, (i.e., taking a share more than percentage of his vote bank). For the first time, in almost two decades, he is out of power corridor—no representation at the federal, and two provinces level so he wanted to stage a comeback.”
The Baloch analyst continued, “This comeback is aimed to stay relevant by basking in media glory, to preempt the government from carrying out any meaningful reforms in Madrassas (to satisfy FATF requirement)—as his core constituency—and to put enough pressure to get some share in the government.”
Jan Achakzai observed that Maulana has succeeded in creating a perception that he is supported by the “establishment”, while he has also won over the support of leading opposition parties, the PPP and PML-N, with his promise to dismantle the PTI-led government.
India and Afghanistan will leverage the ensuing law and order situation to activate their assets with the objective to create organized chaos and instability
The Baloch analyst said, “So far he has successfully managed to twist perception in his favour. Here is how: as per his psy-ops Maulana created a perception that he enjoys alleged support from within elements of the Establishment; he convinced the PPP and the PML-N to support him and he will deliver PM Imran Khan’s resignation.”
“The hype he created made him a ready horse for vested interests who have an agenda to malign security institutions to invest as he also succeeded to create the impression that he is the only anti-establishment politician in Pakistan.”
Foreign & Domestic Sponsors
Sharing intelligence reports on the Intel received with regards to the foreign and domestic sponsors of Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Azadi March, Jan Achakzai said, “Diplomatic corps is buzzing with queries on Maulana’s march and the politics of instability around his optics.”
The former Adviser to the Balochistan government continued, “As a result, he got sponsors from within and outside the country: what he needs the most from them is finances to lock-done the country.”
“So far he has amassed more than Rs one billion including around Rs 40 crores from Afghanistan, according to security agencies. The money from his network in the gulf countries is still unaccounted for.”
Examining the possible scenarios of the sit-in protest, Achakzai observed, “As far the actual set-in is concerned, there are three scenarios: a) he comes with Madrassa students; b) he does come without Madrasa students and c) he does not come for set in.”
Achakzai said that the scenario that will unfold will become clear after the 21st of October. “But all indications are he will bring madrasa students and will come to Islamabad for D Chowk.”
Establishment not Willing to Concede
Achakzai observed that there are no chances of the Imran Khan-led government and the establishment conceding to Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s demands, should he manage to capture the power seat of the federal capital.
He said, “So far the government has not realized the leverage he will exercise when he captures the D Chowk, then he will cripple the power seat and will not leave without any grand bargain. His closed aides believe he is looking for the slot of governor KP, 3 ministers and himself an advisor at federal level to inform the government on religious issues.”
“On the other hand, the government of Imran Khan and the Establishment is in no mood to concede anything to him.”
The Baloch analyst observed that the PTI’s negotiation team will not reap much success, while the Interior Ministry will unveil its strategy in the ongoing week.
“Government strategy of talks will not make much headway. As far the administrative measures are concerned, the Interior Ministry will be able to reveal some times next week its strategy. It has only indicated the government might ban JUI-F’s militant group called Harkatul Islam.”
Achakzai warned that Maulana’s disruptive behavior will provide Pakistan’s enemies on both borders the perfect opportunity to exploit the situation. He said, “Given the current geo-political situation, any disruptive behavior by Maulana will be a perfect opportunity to take advantage of. India and Afghanistan will leverage the ensuing law and order situation to activate their assets with the objective to create organized chaos and instability.”
He concluded, “The last things Pakistan needs international media portrayal of Islamabad with angry bearded madrasa students capturing state building and thronging the streets—a perfect excuse for the FATF to whip Pakistan again in February 2021 for not confronting violent extremist/radical groups.”