Pak govt to allow JUI-F march if it remains peaceful

Islamabad: The Pakistan government has said that it would allow Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) October 31 ‘Azadi March’ as long as parameters laid out by courts for a lawful protest were not breached.

The decision was taken on Wednesday after a team delegated to negotiate with the opposition presented its recommendations to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Dawn news reported.

It was decided during the meeting that “the government, with its firm belief in upholding democratic ideals, would allow the proposed Azadi March, if it takes place within the ambit of law and the Constitution as interpreted in the decisions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Islamabad High Court”, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.

“The Prime Minister believes in the democratic right to protest,” a PMO official had earlier told Dawn news.

The protesters will be allowed to carry out the march, which will call to topple the incumbent PTI government, as long as the everyday life of citizens was not adversely affected, in accordance with the past judgements of the Supreme Court and the high court.

The development comes midst reports that police in Islamabad was issuing riot gear and mobilising containers to cordon off sensitive areas of the capital city to prevent protesters from marching on to the Red Zone.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl had announced in June that his party had decided to hold the anti-government long march to Islamabad in the month of October in a bid to topple the government, which he said had come to power through “fake” elections.

Fazl had first set October 27 as the date for the long march, but later deferred it till October 31.