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Hundreds of people from across the country joined the Azadi March in Islamabad on Monday
Hundreds of people from across the country joined the Azadi March in Islamabad on Monday

Influential Pak cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman continues sit-in to topple Imran's govt

ANI | Updated: Nov 12, 2019 00:47 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], Nov 12 (ANI): Hundreds of people from across the country on Monday joined the sit-in protest, led by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, in Islamabad seeking resignation of Imran Khan as Pakistan's prime minister and convening of an early parliamentary election.
The 'Azadi March', continuing since last month, has travelled long, slogan-laden miles within Pakistan and converged to drop anchor in the country's capital, Islamabad. The primary demand of the march and the 'dharna' (sit-in) is the resignation of Khan, who has quite expectedly refused to oblige.
It should also be noted that Imran Khan is getting a taste of his own medicine as he, being the opposition leader in 2014, had led a similar anti-government caravan seeking ouster of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Four inconclusive rounds of talks between representatives nominated by Khan and the Rahbar committee of the opposition parties led by Fazlur Rehman have already been held, and media reports suggest that these talks have not made much headway towards finding a way to defuse the escalating crisis.
Maulana Fazlur, a religious leader who is also among the most pragmatic and deft politicians in Pakistan, had in June this year announced that his party would hold a long march to Islamabad in October. The march kicked off from the port city of Karachi on 27 October, with rallies from Balochistan province also joining the march in Karachi, and descended upon Islamabad on October 31.
The most remarkable feature of the Maulana's march was the massive number of participants that he succeeded in attracting, and despite wide variations in the figures claimed by the different factions based on their leanings it was clear that with close to 100,000 people this was the biggest such congregation at a political rally in Pakistan in the last several years.
After initial objections, the two main Pakistani opposition parties, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) had joined several smaller parties in extending support to the Maulana. It is another matter that in part due to their apprehension that Fazlur would steal the political thunder, and also due to their traditional fear of the military establishment, which stood firmly behind PM Khan, these two parties balked at involving themselves too deeply in the march.
According to Fazlur Rehman aka Maulana Diesel, the march has been called to "protect the Constitution, democracy and Pakistan".
Earlier, Khan made it clear that he will not succumb to pressure from the opposition and not resign from his post. (ANI)