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JUI-F’s Azadi March: Will PTI be able to Maintain ‘Order’ without using Force?

PTI’s government does not want religious seminaries to support JUI-F’s Long March. Will the government be able to prevent students from joining the March without using force? Is this the right move by PTI's govt which came to power following almost the same course?

JUI-F

In the latest development, government has put religious seminaries under surveillance after a potential threat of political violence and chaos. Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), a religio-political party, has threatened to disrupt life in the federal capital, Islamabad, on October 27, under the pretexts of blasphemy. The party has accused the PTI’s government of blasphemy, bad governance, and incompetence.

Maulana has announced that the “March to oust the government would begin on October 27”. The opposition parties, PML-N and PPP, have requested him to postpone it. But the JUI-F’s chief has made it clear that he will run the March on the day Pakistan celebrates as Kashmir Solidarity Day.

According to sources, the police have alerted its Special Branch to collect information about the affiliation of the religious seminaries, teachers, and students with the JUI-F. Besides, seminaries, teachers, and students who may support the JUI-F should also be identified.

In this regard, intelligence was mounted in and around the seminaries to collect details. Details are being collected about people and those who are found affiliated with JUI-F and other politico-religious parties have been put under surveillance to take action against them when needed, the officers stated.

Joint opposition is likely to back the JUI-F March to give a tough time to the incumbent government to seek some political concession.

There are 329 religious seminaries in the capital and it is expected that the JUI-F may get support, including manpower, from 207 of the seminaries, said the officers, adding over 28,000 students are getting education in these seminaries.

Moreover, surveillance of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maulana Attaur Rehman, Mufti Abrar, Khawaja Mudassar and Majeed Hazarvi has also been started. The staff members of Maulana Fazlur Rehman are also being monitored.

Rent-a-car service providers, hotels and catering services are also being monitored along with clients visiting them, said the officers.

The Maintenance of Public Order or the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) may be used against the leaders of the JUI-F, teachers, and students to restrict them from preparing for and participating in the long march.

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s premier, is said to have been a political nightmare for Maulana. Before the elections 2013, Maulana was confident up to be the point of being arrogant that his party would win the elections and “PTI is nowhere in the province”. However, contrary to what JUI-F’s chief had anticipated, PTI formed government in the province. It was the turning point when Maulana decided to target Imran Khan and his party on religious grounds.

Read more: Fazal Ur Rehman- Fighting for Islam or Islamabad?

In May 2013, Maulana Fazlur Rehman declared it ‘haram’ to vote in favor of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Chief Imran Khan and his candidates. He alleged Imran Khan for being sponsored by the West and the Jewish lobby. He also called Imran an agent of “Americans, Jews, Ahmadis and a person of ill character”.

After PTI won the general elections in 2018, and it was able to form the government, Maulana not only challenged the party but also threatened him of dire consequences if it decides to assume the office. The anger was high since the PTI white washed MMA led by JUI-F and JI in KPK which was understood as strong threshold of the MMA. Later on, JUI-F’s friends told Maulana to step aside.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Imran Khan is not afraid of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Azadi March. He expressed confidence in his team that is likely to deal with the JUI-F chief.

The premier made it clear that Maulana won’t be able to exploit “religious card” against the government at the behest of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N). Joint opposition is likely to back the JUI-F March to give a tough time to the incumbent government to seek some political concession.

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