- Interior minister says govt asked PDM to move sit-in outside Red Zone due to ‘security concerns’
- Workers of JUI-F, PPP, PML-N from KP, Sindh other parts of country start arriving in capital
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Sunday refused to relocate its planned protest sit-in outside the Supreme Court in Islamabad on Monday despite the government’s request to move it outside the Red Zone due to security concerns.
Speaking at a press conference with Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb earlier on Sunday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had directed him to meet with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
After receiving “alarming” information from security institutions, Sanaullah had urged the PDM chief to relocate the planned protest sit-in of his multi-party coalition away from the Supreme Court building.
Sanaullah, who belongs to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) which is also part of the PDM coalition, said that the administration has informed him that it will be very difficult to control the protest and that the information being received from security institutions was very alarming.
He said that he had requested the JUI-F chief to hold the protest outside the Red Zone.
According to sources close to PDM, the PDM leadership is holding firm on its choice of venue, with Fazl and other leaders rejected any chance of relocating the sit-in which is supposed to continue for an indefinite period.
‘No change in protest venue’
In a statement later in the evening, JUI-F Central Secretary General Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri expressed concern over the spread of false rumours that the planned location of the protest had been changed.
“Some mischievous elements are spreading misinformation that the protest site has been changed. This is not true,” he said in a statement.
He clarified that the sit-in protest will be held in front of the Supreme Court and urged the workers to not pay attention to false rumours.
“The protest will be held in front of the Supreme Court on Constitution Avenue,” Haideri assured the party workers in the statement.
He further stated that the sit-in protest outside the top court will continue for an indefinite period of time, adding that the decision to end the sit-in protest will be made tomorrow.
The protest sit-in by the ruling multi-party coalition comes days after violent protests erupt across major cities in the country following the arrest of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.
The former prime minister was arrested on May 9 by the paramilitary Rangers on orders of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) over allegations Rs50 billion corruption in the Al Qadir Trust case.
However, a three member bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Bandial, later declared Imran’s arrest as illegal and ordered his immediate release.
The ruling PDM coalition has been voicing their protest against what they describe as the double standards of the judiciary, openly accusing the apex court judges of favouritism and asking the top judge to step down from his position.
During his press conference earlier today, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah also lashed out at PTI Chairman Imran Khan over the violent protests and vandalism by his party workers and supporters following his May 9 arrest, and urged the people to use their voting power to negate any attempts to spread unrest in the country.
The interior minister stated that investigations are ongoing to identify the malicious elements involved in the recent tragic events, and those who were involved in attempting to set fire to sensitive installations and public and private property will be brought to justice with evidence presented in court.
The minister emphasized once again that the political party responsible for inciting unrest should be declared a proscribed organisation. However, he stated that this is a legal process and that facts will come to light in due course.
Earlier in the day, the PDM coalition sought permission from the local district administration to hold a sit-in outside of the Supreme Court premises in the federal capital.
Former minister and PML-N leader Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry confirmed to journalists that an application on the matter had been submitted to the concerned authorities.
“PML-N workers from across Islamabad will fully participate in the protest,” he said.
The application states that the ruling party alliance wishes to “hold a public gathering at D-Chowk, Islamabad on Monday at 10am”.
Convoy from Karachi sets off for Islamabad sit-in
A convoy of workers and activists from political parties that make up the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has left Karachi and is currently travelling to Islamabad, the federal capital.
Convoys from different cities in Pakistan are expected to arrive in Islamabad on Monday, including a large number of workers who will stop in Hyderabad next.
A JUI-F spokesperson has reported that convoys from Sindh are set to depart for Islamabad to participate in the sit-in outside the Supreme Court.
The Rohri Interchange has been designated as the central point for gathering, where the convoys from all over Sindh, including Karachi and Hyderabad, will assemble before departing for Islamabad together. The spokesperson also noted that the convoys from Sukkur and Larkana divisions will join the groups travelling from Karachi.
According to him, the main convoy en route from Karachi is expected to reach Sukkur by evening. Arrangements have been made for food and accommodation at Rohri for the main convoy.
KP workers all set to participate in Sit-in
After the announcement of the JUI-F protest sit-in outside the Supreme Court, the workers have started their movements with the main departure of the workers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday morning.
This was stated by Maulana Ahmad Ali Darwish while talking to media men here Sunday. He said the Caravans of the JUI-F workers will depart from each district according to their schedule and all convoys will reach Haklah Interchange on Monday afternoon.
The convoy from Peshawar city will depart from JUI center at 9.00 am on Monday morning, Ahmad Ali Darwish informed. After reaching Haklah Interchange, all convoys from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will go to the Supreme Court in the form of a central convoy, Maulana Ahmad Ali Darwish explained.
The workers have been instructed to bring essential supplies, Maulana Ahmad Ali Darwish replied to a question of how long the sit-in will be. “It depends on the high command who can answer to such questions, however, the workers will be ready for any kind of the situation,” he added
PML-N also seeks permission for gathering at D-Chowk
Meanwhile, the ruling coalition party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Sunday sought the local district administration’s permission to hold a sit-in outside of the Supreme Court premises in Islamabad. Former minister and PML-N leader Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry confirmed to journalists that an application on the matter had been submitted to the concerned authorities.
“PML-N workers from across Islamabad will fully participate in the protest,” he said. The application states that the ruling party alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) wishes to “hold a public gathering at D-Chowk, Islamabad on Monday at 10am”.
Notably, the top court had come to the rescue of former prime minister Imran Khan on Thursday as it declared his arrest by the country’s top graft-buster from the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) illegal and directed immediate release of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief.
Shortly after the IHC’s decision was reported, PDM announced that it will stage a protest demonstration in front of the SC over its “unjust behaviour”. “We have decided that we will protest against this behaviour. As someone who is representing the PDM, I appeal to the entire nation to reach Islamabad on Monday. We will stage a sit-in and protest in huge numbers,” said Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) chief and PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.
Fazl had said that every worker of his party will participate in the protest and no one will stay at home. “If someone tried to stop us, we will reply back with clubs, slaps and punches if needed,” he had warned.
JUI-F seeks permission for peaceful protest
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) on Sunday submitted an application to the Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad seeking permission for a “peaceful protest in front of the Supreme Court (SC)”.
JUI-F Senator Kamran Murtaza and Mufti Abdullah in the application also requested for adequate security and other necessary arrangements for the sit-in.
In a statement, JUI-F spokesperson Muhammad Aslam Ghauri expressed the party’s commitment to maintain order in the demonstration, saying that volunteers would be deployed for the purpose. He said no JUI-F worker would enter the premises of the apex court or the Judges’ Colony.
“The JUI-F adheres to the principles of law and will not resort to violence or disrespect to any institution,” Aslam Ghauri said.
PPP DECIDES TO PARTICIPATE IN PDM’S SIT-IN OUTSIDE SC
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has decided to participate in the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)’s sit-in outside Supreme Court (SC).
Addressing a news conference the PPP leaders Nayyar Hussain Bukhari and Faisal Karim Kundi said that Supreme Court has refused to constitute a full court for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) elections that’s why PPP will participate in the protest outside Supreme Court.
Nayyar Hussain Bukhari said that the nation needs a judiciary that makes a decision irrespective of their personal likes and dislikes, and who can work for the supremacy of law and constitution.
He maintained that when the PTI chairman was summoned before the court on May 11, he was an accused at that time. On what basis the Chief Justice declared Imran Khan’s arrest illegal?