Opposition’s ‘Azadi March’ shakes Pakistan government, PM Imran to meet government negotiating team on November 4

Buckling under pressure created due to protests launched by thousands of people in Islamabad under the banner of the Azadi March started by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to meet the government team, which is negotiating with the protesters, on Tuesday. The government negotiating team led by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan to hold talks over the Azadi March.

The protesters who have assembled in Islamabad from different parts of Pakistan are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Dawn reported. The ‘Azadi’ March caravan started from Sindh on October 27 and reached Islamabad on October 31 after crossing Lahore on October 30. 

On Friday (November 1), several opposition leaders joined the protesters in Islamabad and delivered speeches against Imran Khan. The protesters gave the Pakistan prime minister a 48-hour ultimatum to resign but the deadline was later extended by JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman after he said that Rahbar Committee of opposition parties will take a decision over PM Khan’s resignation after talks with the government negotiating committee. 

On Monday (November 3), Rehman had said that leaders of opposition parties had unanimously decided that they will decide when to call off the protest underway. The JUI-F chief thanked the other opposition parties for supporting his party.

Meanwhile, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday that his party would “immediately” distance itself from the Azadi March if the protest turned violent. It is interesting to note that PML-N has stayed away from JUI-F’s ongoing protest but Iqbal said that his party will continue to extend “moral and democratic” support to the ‘Azadi March’.

The Lahore High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the federal government seeking the arrest of JUI-F chief and for initiation of treason proceedings against him.