In an interesting development, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman has announced that the proposed long march shall take place on October 31st, not on 27th. This development took place after the JUI-F was widely criticized for being politically too immature to hold an anti-rally on the day Pakistan celebrates as Kashmir Solidarity Day. Maulana spoke to reporters and announced a new date for the proposed protest.
Earlier Maulana 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.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman announces 27 October as the date for the Azadi March pic.twitter.com/VTlZNLAy0w
— Amber Rahim Shamsi (@AmberRShamsi) October 3, 2019
His party has formally sought permission from the Islamabad administration to hold the so-called Azadi March on October 27 at D-Chowk located in the federal capital’s red zone. “The JUI-F will be holding the Azadi March on October 27, 2019, at D-Chowk, Islamabad, exercising its democratic and Constitutional right under Articles 16 and 17 of the Constitution against the incumbent government,” read an application submitted to the Islamabad chief commissioner on Tuesday by JUI-F leader Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, through his counsel Kamran Murtaza.
But Rehman said today that the march will “begin” on Oct 27. He said caravans will express solidarity with Kashmiris on Oct 27 and then leave for the capital. “We have decided to enter Islamabad on October 31,” the JUI-F chief said, explaining that the days following October 27 will allow caravans from faraway districts of the country to reach the capital. “People from all over the country will enter [Islamabad] at the same time.”
Five days ago, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister urged the JUI-F’s chief to review the date of his protest. “Maulana has announced to protest in Islamabad on October 27, and it was October 27, when New Delhi took over the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). This day is associated with the Kashmiri people. By protesting on this day, JUI-F will not only damage Pakistan but also the Kashmir cause,” said Qureshi, speaking to a private television channel. FM Qureshi further requested Maulana Fazlur Rehman to rethink his decision. “He can protest but his protest must not be merged with the matter of Kashmir.”
— zemtvs (@Zemtvs) October 4, 2019
On the other hand, the government has put religious seminaries under surveillance after a potential threat of political violence and chaos. The party has accused the PTI’s government of blasphemy, bad governance, and incompetence.
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.
Seminaries and leaders of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) in the capital have been put under surveillance to prepare a strategy to deal with the Azadi march of the politico-religious party to the capital.https://t.co/p5CUobam9u
— Dawn.com (@dawn_com) October 9, 2019
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.
There is a slim opportunity for Maulana to stay relevant and hold the protest since his political aides, PML-N and PPP, are not standing behind him. He is likely to remain alone and face the consequence whatsoever as an attempt to topple the government elected in power almost 13 months ago.