LAHORE: Incarcerated former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif on Monday directed his party to fully support the ‘Azadi March’ announced by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Nawaz gave the directions during a meeting with his younger brother and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif who met him at the Kot Lakhpat Jail. Their meeting continued for over three hours.
The meeting, which was also attended by PML-N leaders Ahsan Iqbal and Khawaja Asif, and Nawaz’s lawyer Azam Nazir Tarar, also discussed matters pertaining to consultation with the JUI-F chief for the anti-government movement and cases against the Sharif family.
According to reports, Shehbaz asked Nawaz to reconsider his decision but the latter reaffirmed his stance.
The PML-N president also proposed to change the date of the sit-in due to current situation of the country, however, the elder Sharif said every possible step needed to be taken “to save the country”.
On Sunday, Shehbaz Sharif held a meeting with Fazlur Rehman during which he expressed the PML-N’s support for JUI-F’s plan to lockdown Islamabad. However, Shehbaz said a final decision will be taken by the PML-N in its central executive committee meeting –which will also be attended by a JUI-F delegation – on September 30.
The date for Islamabad lockdown will be announced by both parties after mutual consultations, said Ahsan Iqbal while addressing a joint press conference with JUI-F’s Akram Durrani.
It may be noted here that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has already distanced itself from the long march, saying the PPP was against dharna politics. However, the party will lend moral support to Fazl.
“We support Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s politics and the issues he is raising. We provide moral support, political support for his initiative [but] strategically, we don’t see eye to eye,” PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had said in a presser.
Bilawal had announced that he will go around the country as part of his mass contact campaign and raise the same issues as Rehman.
“While Rehman will be in Islamabad, I will be going across the country and our narrative will be the same, which is that this puppet, incapable prime minister, who has been imposed upon us through rigging, who has ruined our economy, who has weakened our national security position on every issue including Kashmir […] he will have to go home,” the PPP chief had said.