Opposition leaders address JUI-F's Azadi march

Opposition leaders address JUI-F's Azadi march

Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): Leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and Awami National Party (ANP) on Friday addressed the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F).

Thousands of protesters led by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday reached Islamabad. The anti-government protest rally started its journey from Sindh on Oct 28.

Earlier, the PTI-led government and Rahbar Committee on Saturday reached an agreement according to which participants of the march will not enter D-Chowk, said Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak.

Addressing a press conference along with members of the committee and the government delegation by his side, Khattak said that both sides had reached an understanding.

"Akram Durrani has assured me that participants of the march will not enter the Red Zone," he said. "Whether it be a dharna or a jalsa, it should be peaceful."

Khattak said that the Rahbar Committee had not asked for the prime minister's resignation neither had it put forth the demand for elections.

The first formal meeting between the government and opposition for negotiations over the upcoming Azadi March ended without yielding any result as deadlock persisting between both sides as they could not agree on a single point.

According to sources, the government’s negotiating team rejected the demand of the Rehbar Committee to allow gathering of their workers at D-Chowk in Islamabad.

The government team stuck to the stand that the opposition parties would be allowed to hold a public meeting at the Parade Ground.

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, who led the government side, said that no important conclusion could be brought about even after much discussion but the talks would continue.

Jamiat Ulema-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Akram Khan Durrani also said that no conclusion could be reached.

From the government’s side, the seven-member negotiation committee comprised of Khattak, National Assembly (NA) Speaker Asad Qaiser, Sanjrani, MNA Asad Umar, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri, and Punjab Assembly (PA) Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi.

The opposition committee members included Durrani, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan’s (JUP) Awais Noorani, Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Nayyar Bukhari and Farhatullah Babar, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Ahsan Iqbal, former NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq, Awami National Party’s (ANP) Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Qaumi Watan Party’s (QWP) Hashim Babar and National Party’s (NP) Tahir Bizenjo.