–Premier says JUI-F’s Azadi March driven by foreign agenda and will harm Kashmir cause
–Says Opp will be allowed to protest in Islamabad as long as they remain peaceful
–Imran says courts must decide whether to send Nawaz abroad for treatment or to allow his daughter to meet him
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that he will not cave into pressure from the opposition parties who have been asking for his resignation and threatening to lock down the federal capital later this month.
Speaking to senior journalists and analysts, the premier talked about multiple issues, including unemployment, inflation and the joint opposition’s upcoming Azadi March.
The premier said that Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s protest is driven by a specific agenda and has the support of foreign powers. “His plan of protest has sent a wave of joy in India,” he said.
“I cannot understand what Maulana’s problem is or what the opposition is after,” he said, adding that despite everything the government would still allow the opposition to protest in Islamabad as long as they remain peaceful.
Regarding the opposition’s demand for his resignation, the premier said, “Let me be very clear that I will not resign on opposition’s demand.”
Questioning the timing of the march, he said that it would hurt the Kashmir cause.
“India may use this opportunity to attack Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). I have already directed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa to ensure that troops are ready for retaliation,” he added.
When asked about his dharna in Islamabad in 2014, the premier said that he had staged the sit-in because he had proofs of election rigging in four constituencies.
“We came out on streets after exhausting all possible options, which platform has Maulana used to address his grievances before coming out on streets? Attention is being diverted from the Kashmir issue because of this march. We must think who will benefit from all of this,” he added.
Responding to a question about media restrictions, he said they are free to give coverage to JUI-F and other opposition parties.
Commenting on incarcerated former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s health, the premier said that only a court of law could take a decision on the former’s treatment outside the country.
“Shehbaz Sharif says Imran Khan will be held responsible if anything happens to Nawaz Sharif … I am not a doctor or a judge and the matter of Maryam Nawaz’s meeting with her father would also be made by the court,” he remarked.
The prime minister added that he had directed Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to provide best possible medical facilities to the former premier.
Talking about other issues, the prime minister acknowledged that inflation and unemployment remain a big problem which his government is trying to resolve.
The JUI-F chief, with the support of all major opposition parties including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP), will march on the federal capital on October 31 to topple the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, which he believes came into power through massive rigging in the 2018 elections.