PML-N, PPP to stay away from ‘Azadi March’ sit in

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party  — on Friday announced they would not become a part of the sit-in announced by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam.
 The leaders of the two parties said they had already told JUI-F chief in categorical terms that they would only attend the public meeting and would not attend any sit-in.
They said they had not delivered any specific directives to their workers regarding participation in the sit-in.

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Mr. Iqbal, who also addressed the Azadi march participants with PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif, said even party’s supreme leader Nawaz Sharif had asked them to participate in the Azadi march only for a day.
Mr. Iqbal, who was preparing to go to the residence of Fazl ur Rehman for a meeting of the heads of the opposition parties, said the PML-N workers had participated in the Azadi march and the public meeting with enthusiasm. However, he said, the party had not given any call for a sit-in to its activists.
PPP secretary general Farhatullah Khan Babar, likewise said his party leadership had made it clear during the multi-party conferences  and the meetings of the Rehbar Committee that PPP would partake in an “indefinite dharna.”
When told that so far it was a two-day sit-in, Mr. Babar said he could not make any comments on the matter as he was not aware of the step that would be taken by the JUI-F after the two-day deadline set by the JUI-F leadership for the resignation of Prime Minister.
He said he could not make a comment without discussing the matter in the party, when asked about the possibility of PPP’s participation in the sit-in if it was extended beyond Sunday.
Similarly, he refused to answer when asked about his party’s possible stance in case the JUI-F chief requested them for a “token participation” in the dharna.

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Mr. Babar, however, cleared the plan of PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to address public meetings in Punjab was still intact. He said Mr. Bhutto-Zardari was scheduled to fly to Rahim Yar Khan for a meeting, but his aircraft could not take off due to weather conditions.
He said taking advantage of his flight cancellation, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari reached the Azadi march venue and addressed its participants along with other party leaders, including PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif.
Opposition parties’ Azadi march, which was led by the JUI-F, entered Islamabad on Thursday night. The decision of Fazl ur Rehman to keep his plans secret till the last moment not only kept the government and local administration of the capital perplexed, but it also came under disapprobation from key political allies.
Asfandyar Wali Khan president ANP, who had arrived in Islamabad from Charsadda at the head of his party’s procession before the arrival of the JUI-F caravan, had complained about the lack of coordination among parties and wondered where had the Rehbar Committee gone.

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