The ‘Azadi March’ failed miserably, protest demonstrations to block highways nationwide were called off, and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif dashed abroad. Still JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has refused to accept defeat in the quest to topple the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The JUI-F chief has convened an All Parties Conference (effectively a multi-parties conference) in Islamabad inviting a total of nine political parties to chalks out future strategy. The anticipated participation of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari could breathe life in the moot but his presence not yet confirmed.
The second-tier leadership of the PML-N is expected to attend along with several other parties but hopes about any positive outcome are low. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif is currently in London overseeing his brother Nawaz Sharif’s treatment, while Maryam Nawaz has decided to stay away.
The opposition’s anti-government protests have been fruitless so far and have not gone further than mere assurances. The campaign started with a long march starting from Karachi to Islamabad followed by a two-week sit-in in the federal capital. Eventually, Maulana Fazlur Rehman called off the ‘Azadi March’ after claiming that he had received assurances about the prime minister’s resignation.
JUI-F Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri revealed that PML-Q leader Pervez Elahi had assured them that the prime minister will resign, assemblies will be dissolved and fresh elections will be held within three months. Then we heard from the Punjab Assembly Speaker that the prime minister’s resignation was in fact never discussed during negotiations with the JUI-F.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman might be fuming that the ‘Azadi March’ which started with much fanfare came to an unceremonious end. The JUI-F chief was left with nothing more than handshakes and assurances. The opposition parties also deserted him and he had nothing left to cling onto either.
Now it seems that Maulana Fazlur Rehman is looking to salvage his reputation claiming that the battle against his political nemesis is not over yet. The APC is nothing more than a tokenistic measure to give self-assurances. It is unlikely to yield any coherent result and the JUI-F seems to be finding direction in a dark room.
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