Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has announced that the opposition is considering to resign from assemblies to put more pressure on the incumbent government to step down. In a press briefing to foreign media outlets, Rehman said that the JUI-F will not follow the “126-day model” of the incumbent government and “will not tire its workers by having them sit indefinitely on some open ground”.
The JUI-F’s chief also told media representatives that if the government does not allow his workers to reach in Islamabad then the proposed march shall take another direction. “Our workers will run a campaign; fill the jails,” said Maulana.
— Pakistan News (@pakistaninews) October 22, 2019
Maulana Fazlur Rehman who was part of previous government could not manage to retain his own seat during the last general elections. Unprecedented defeat made him largely irrelevant. Now analysts believe that through the Azadi March Maulana has managed to present himself as strong political force in Paksitan.
It is important to recall that in July the JUI-F’s chief announced to topple the government if the premier and his cabinet do not step down. He also said that it was the last protest in Quetta and there was going to be freedom march in the months to come. He said: “this is our last long march and next will be our Freedom March in Islamabad if the PTI government does not resign in August. After holding 14 successful million marches across the country, today we have arrived in Quetta and this sea of people shows what the people of Pakistan want.”
After consultation with the opposition parties, Maulana postponed his proposed Azadi March from August to October. Initially, it was 27th Oct which Pakistan celebrates every year as Kashmir Solidarity day. After criticism from all walks of life, Maulana changed the date and announced to lead a march in Islamabad on 31st October.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have announced to join the March. There is a widely held perception that both parties are becoming a part of the protest due to their respective disagreements with PM Imran. Reliable sources told GVS that the premier has declined all the requests of giving any concessions to former President Asif Ali Zardari and Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in corruption cases. Through these protests, sources claim, the PPP and PML-N are pressuring the premier to sign a deal with them.
But both parties have rubbished such claims and maintained to be the guardians of masses. “We are heading towards Islamabad because we want to save this country,” said PML-N’s senior leader Ahsan Iqbal.
Shibli Faraz, the Leader of the House in the Senate, recently remarked that the 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.
— DawnNews (@Dawn_News) October 21, 2019
Meanwhile, the PTI-led government has banned a subsidiary group of JUI-F – Ansarul Islam – with an immediate effect and the federal government has sent a summary to the authorities concerned in this regard. In no time, the parade and ‘salute’ simultaneously turned into scare and joke across social media.
جب انسان خود کو سمجھا لے تو وہ کچھ بھی بن سکتا ہے وزیراعظم بھی. ~مولانا فضل الرحمان
— پاکستانی رینچ 👨🏾🔧 (@NaikRooh) October 16, 2019
Formation of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal to defeat PTI
During the last general elections particularly in KPK, JUI-F and JI had to deal with the PTI which performed exceptionally well during its five years tenure. The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) — an alliance of religio-political parties which first emerged in the history of Pakistan during 2002 election was once again revived. Maulana was made its chairman. The head of Jamaat-e-Islami Siraj-ul-Haq also welcomed the MMA and thanked Allah for its restoration. “We are thankful to Allah for this. The restoration of MMA for the protection of the Islamic identity of the country, its safety, and security is welcome news for democratic stability. Running the country according to the constitution and Islamic principles is necessary,” said Sirajul Haq.
MMA like other political parties and interest groups was using an identity card to seek political support in the general elections. This time biggest threat to religious political parties in their respective areas was the presence of PTI. The best strategy devised by the leaders of religious parties was to get organized, make an alliance and defeat the PTI. But invoking identities and ensuring political support was not something that ensured the growth and development of a democratic culture. Scholars argue that democracy grow up in a ‘participant culture’ where people are rational actors and an integral part of the political process.
MMA was whitewashed by the PTI across the country which further annoyed the JUI-F chief and his allies.