Azadi March a Fizzle: JUI-F Chief Fazlur Rehman Looking for a Face Saver | Security Risks Asia Humane ClubMade with Humane Club

Azadi March a Fizzle: JUI-F Chief Fazlur Rehman Looking for a Face Saver

Published Nov 11, 2019
Updated Feb 06, 2020

Driven to the wall and dwindling of support after having celebrated 10 November birth anniversary of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) at the sit-in venue, Fazlur Rehman is wondering what next?

 Jamait ul Fazlur (JUI F) continues to be at the D Chowk in Islamabad defying the agreement with the government which had permitted a stay in the area for three days.

On Sunday (10November) birthday of the Prophet (PUBH) JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman lashed out at Prime Minister Imran claiming that the nation does not recognised him as the leader,

“Keep sitting on the chair, this nation doesn’t recognise you as its ruler,” he said to the prime minister.

On the court decision to disperse the march Rehman said,  “I want to ask you, how many judicial verdicts did you respect,” he asked.

Fazl claimed that  the incumbent government was afraid of his Azadi March. “The Azadi March has reduced their [government] mountain of debt to dust,” he said. Fazl said that this was not the way the country could be run. The JUI-F chief said that Pakistan could only be run in accordance with the law and constitution.

JUI-F ‘Azadi March’, led by  Maulana Fazlur Rehman head of  Party, set-out on 27 October from Karachi’s Sohrab Goth area towards Islamabad.

Having traversed across Sindh and Punjab where large number of people joined the rally locally, the loyal band of followers of the Maulana many from the madrasas he controls entered Islamabad but were restricted away from the Green Zone.

Other opposition parties were with the JUI F chief’s plans only partially and refused for a prolonged sit in.

Initially the main opposition party the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) refused to participate in the march until instructed by the mentor former head Nawaz Sharif who asked PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif to support Rehman.

The March is seen by many as the first major challenge to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s leadership with some analysts claiming that this is an indication that the Armyis not fully enamoured with his government despite having helped in installingin power and ensuring survival for the past one year.JUI-F’s ‘Azadi March’ sets out for Islamabadfrom Karachi

However the Army has given an unambiguous signal that it is not supporting such extra constitutional overthrow of the government.

The 226th Corps Commanders’ Conference presided by General Qamar JavedBajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) held at GHQ on November 24 gave a stern message to the Jamait ul Fazlur (JUI F) that the Army will support all, “national institutions as and when asked for by the Constitution”.

“We have attained better internal security and stability through cohesive national efforts and sacrifices rendered by Pakistan Armed Forces, all national institutions and above all the nation. We shall not let it reverse to suit any vested agenda at any cost. Pakistan Army as organ of the state will continue to support national institutions as and when asked as per constitution. While Pakistan Armed Forces with support of national institutions and the nation are fully prepared and committed to thwart all threats including on Eastern Border / LOC, continued cohesion of all national stakeholders on key national issues is essential to defeat inimical forces”, COAS General Qamar JavedBajwa was quoted by the DG ISPR in a press release.

In  subsequent release, DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor claimed that the Pakistan armed forces are not involved in politics. “The country’s defence doesn’t allow us to answer such allegations,” he said. “We are busy in defending the country,” he claimed in the media briefing on 06 November.

Commenting on the DG ISPR recent statement, Fazl said that he welcomes his statement

“I welcome the statement of DG ISPR in which he said that the army is an impartial institution and it wants to remain impartial,” the JUI-F chief said.

The DG ISPR said that when the armed forces are called in by the government for elections, they do perform their services.

He said that even the army chief wished that the armed forces’ role in the election should be minimum.

“The army chief wishes that an election process should be in place where the role of the army is minimum,” he said.

The DG ISPR said that the armed forces had supported the government during the 2014 sit-in protests by the PTI.

“As instructed, the armed forces had fulfilled its duties by protecting the important government buildings and made security arrangements,” he said.

He said that the armed forces fulfill the tasks they are given by the government.

Driven to the wall and dwindling of support after having celebrated 10 November birth anniversary of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) at the sit-in venue, Fazlur Rehman is wondering what next?

While his supporters are dwindling, Prime Minister not impacted and the Army sending a strong signal against the March, Rehman will have to be given a face saver to call off the same as he would lose the political capital that he has collected over the period of making the rallying call for the Azadi March and success in the initial days.