–Shujaat, Elahi urge Fazl to resolve matters peacefully
ISLAMABAD: A day after Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) ended its much-trumpeted ‘Azadi March’ and announced to shift to “Plan B”, party workers on Thursday blocked all major highways across the country.
Earlier in the day, JUI-F workers started to arrive in Nowshera city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from Mardan, Charsadda and Peshawar. A major road was blocked in Hakimabad, where a large contingent of police was also present.
The participants of the anti-government march have also closed Indus Highway in Bannu. A party worker said cars will only be allowed to pass through in the case of an emergency, adding that the road has been shut “indefinitely”.
In Malakand, where workers from different parts of the Malakand division gathered at Chakdara Chowk, JUI-F blocked the Chakdara Road, which is the main road, which caused a large traffic jam.
In Balochistan, a meeting of the JUI-F’s Quetta chapter has been called to decide the future course of action.
Provincial party chief Maulana Abdul Wasay, who will head the meeting, said in Balochistan roads are being closed in four places:
- Quetta-Chaman road will be closed at Chaman’s Syed Hameed Cross
- Highway connecting Karachi to Quetta will be closed at Khuzdar
- Highway connecting Balochistan to Punjab will be closed in Dera Ghazi Khan
- Highway from Balochistan to Iran will be closed at Taftan
Following the decisions taken during the meeting, the roads will be closed, Wasay said.
In this regard, an alert has also been issued by JUI-F’s information department, according to which, if Hub Road is blocked, trains should not be stopped.
The notice said that if a road is blocked, ambulances and baraats should be permitted to pass through. People coming from overseas or going to the airport should be shown alternative routes.
Protesters were instructed to avoid using sticks. Additionally, shops should not be forcibly closed.
The alert said that party workers should be directed to avoid causing damage to public property and there should be announcements that people who are caught doing these “are not our people, in fact, they are miscreants who will be handed over to the administration”.
Additionally, briefings would be given on social media and workers would be updated with occasional video messages.
PML-Q LEADERSHIP ASKS FAZL TO RESOLVE MATTERS PEACEFULLY:
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi met Fazl on Thursday in order to urge him to resolve the matter peacefully.
Talking to the media after their meeting, Shujaat said that the JUI-F chief is a democratic person. “We want a system that meets the expectations of the people”, he added.
Elahi asserted that this was the only sit-in which was conducted with a lot of discipline. He said that all the parties are standing behind the JUI-F and he is the only leader of the opposition now, adding that an immense sit-in was held under his leadership.
Fazl told the media that they held the sit-in in a peaceful manner. “If Prime Minister Imran Khan had resigned, the protest would not have spread throughout the country”, he added. He continued saying that they were fighting a war for the nation and will protest democratically.
“Gatherings have begun nationwide. Workers are gathering on all major highways. The workers have a clear direction not to disturb any citizen”, he added.
Responding to a question regarding Nawaz Sharif, he said that it is extremely unethical to demand a guarantee. He further said that PML-N supremo should be allowed to travel abroad for treatment. “It is a democratic right to go to the masses of a country where the democracy is suspicious”, he added.
The hardline JUI-F ended its sit-in yesterday after a party meeting was held under the chairmanship of party chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, where the party decided to shift to its Plan B and block major highways across Pakistan.
Soon after the meeting, the JUI-F chief announced the expansion of protests and reiterated his demand for the resignation of PM Imran.
Following the decision, the participants of the March dismantled their tents and started gathering their belongings to leave the sit-in venue.
Meanwhile, JUI-F activists along with Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) workers, proceeded to block the Quetta-Chaman Highway for traffic. Workers from both parties blocked the Syed Hameed Cross for traffic on Wednesday, causing problems for the passengers.
On the other hand, a large contingent of levies forces reached the spot and started negotiating with the protesters to open the highway.