Azadi march: Opposition set to storm Islamabad

Islamabad, Oct 30: Anti-government ‘azadi’ march, the massive country-wide protest by Pakistan’s opposition parties against Prime Minister Imran Khan, will reach the country’s capital, Islamabad, on Thursday, reports said.

Thousands of protesters in Pakistan were marching to Islamabad, calling on Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign over the weak economy and corruption claims.

Jamiat Ulema-e Islam-F (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the country was united in their demand for the PM’s resignation. Addressing the marchers at Lahore’s Yateem Khana Chowk, Rehman said that Pakistanis, from Karachi to Islamabad, were in agreement that Imran Khan should resign.

He said the premier still had time to “respectfully” submit his resignation, adding that Pakistanis now won’t give him further time to do so.

Rattled by the extensive public support to the ‘azadi march’, Imran Khan has said the government would not create any hurdles in the march as long as its participants followed law, but warned them of strict action if the agreement signed with his negotiation team was violated.

“We will not create hurdles if the march remains peaceful and within the legal boundaries. Strict action will be taken if the agreement is violated,” the Pakistani Prime Minister was quoted as saying.

The government has expressed concern that some participants of the JUI-F are carrying prohibited arms.

The issue of security during the march was raised at a meeting of the federal cabinet presided over by the Prime Minister on Tuesday. The meeting reiterated that the PM would never resign.

“We have video clips of ‘azadi march’ in which some of the participants were carrying Kalashnikovs,” said Special Assistant to Imran Khan, Firdous Ashiq Awan, at a press conference after the cabinet meeting.

Meanwhile, the JUI-F chief spoke to PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif on the phone, sources said. Shehbaz reportedly assured him of complete cooperation as the two exchanged views on the march.


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