JUI-F chief extends sit-in, threatens to spread protest

Following a cold response from the Pakistan government to its two-day deadline for Prime Minister Imran Khan”s resignation and also being deserted by major opposition parties, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has extended the ongoing sit-in here and threatened to spread the protest across the country.

After deciding not to go ahead with his perceived threat to march towards the capital city”s sensitive ”Red Zone” area, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam supremo told his supporters on Sunday that he was trying to convene a meeting of the heads of opposition parties on Monday to discuss the future course of action, Dawn news reported.

However, a number of leaders and office-bearers of the country”s two largest opposition parties — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) — have said it was highly unlikely that their heads, Shahbaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, would be able to reach Islamabad on such a short notice.

Rehman again hinted that he had no plan to move towards D-Chowk or the Prime Minister House, but at the same time declared that “their movement to oust the government will continue”.

However, defending his decision of not directing his workers to march towards D-Chowk which could result in a direct clash with the law enforcement agencies, the JUI-F chief claimed that it was his party that had so far saved the country”s youth from picking up arms and kept them away from violence and aggression.

“Today a number of journalists talked to me and they described our restraint and possible retreat as a defeat. We say that we will go back, but only after making some gains and only to launch a more fierce attack.

“Today we have gathered in Islamabad. Tomorrow we will lock down the whole country and you will see it,” he said.

The JUI-F supremo termed his anti-government Azadi March as “Plan A” of his party, saying they also had “Plan B” and “Plan C”.

He hinted at a countrywide protest movement and courting arrest by his party workers as part of Plans B and C by stating: “You (the government) will go short on jails”.

The ”Azadi March”, which was spearheaded by the JUI-F to call for toppling the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, entered Islamabad on the night of October 31.

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