Govt, opposition agree Azadi March to be held away from Islamabad’s Red Zone

Govt, opposition agree Azadi March to be held away from Islamabad's Red Zone

ISLAMABAD: The government and opposition on Saturday night inked a deal whereby the terms and conditions of the anti-government ‘Azadi March’ were chalked out.
The foremost development, which had remained a sticking point in the meeting held a day earlier between the two sides, was the agreement of a venue. The protest, it was decided, will be held in Islamabad’s H-9 area, in the Sunday bazaar grounds.
In a press conference, the head of the government’s negotiation committee, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak reiterated Prime Minister Imran Khan’s promise that the participants will “see no obstacles” from the government as long as the protest is peaceful.
According to the agreement, the government will not stand in the protesters’ way and “neither will the participants face any difficulty in getting food delivered”.
The participants will not be allowed to venture far from the designated venue. Another condition is that the responsibility of the internal security will lie with the organisers.
The organisers will be required to submit to the Islamabad administration a written affidavit guaranteeing that all conditions will be met.
It was further outlined that in the event of a violation of the terms and conditions and of damage to lives or property, the relevant action as per the law will be taken.
Earlier on Saturday evening, JUI-F leader and head of the opposition Rehbar Committee Akram Khan Durrani had announced that the participants of the anti-government ‘Azadi March’ “will not enter the Red Zone” of Islamabad.
“All 11 of the committee’s members are in agreement over the fact that the protesters will not enter the Red Zone,” he had said.
Durrani had said the protest march will “not be prolonged”. “We will make further decisions as and when appropriate.”
He had reiterated the party’s demands, namely, the prime minister’s resignation, fresh elections, no interference from the military, and the protection of clauses pertaining to Islam within the Constitution.
He had also called for NAB to release all political prisoners.
He had rejected the ban on ‘Ansar-ul-Islam’, the “militant” wing of the JUI-F. “All parties have such wings and it is beyond my understanding why this one was banned.”
The JUI-F leader had insisted that the march will be “peaceful” and called on the government “to open all pathways and roads in the face of an existing threat to the law and order in the country”.
He had said that the caravans of protesters from the southern districts as well as North and South Waziristan will be personally led by him.
Durrani had expressed confidence that the marchers will be given a warm welcome by all districts that they pass through and said that people from Peshawar, Nowshera and other southern areas will join the caravan.
He had said that caravans from Chitral and the adjoining areas will take the Karakoram Highway.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Islamabad administration have reached an agreement according to which JUI-F will hold rally on Peshawar Mor near Sunday market.
The agreement was signed between JUI-F’s Mufti Abdullah and Islamabad district commissioner.
According to the agreement, no obstacle will be put on the route of rally and provision of food will not be restricted. JUI-F will make sure that the basic rights of residents of Islamabad are not violated.
The participants will not try to illegally cross the area allowed by government to hold protest.
Moreover, JUI-F will be responsible for the security of Azadi March protestors. It was also made clear that if the agreement is violated, legal action will be taken against perpetrators.
In case of damaging government or private property or loss of human life, action will be taken against JUI-F according to rule of law.


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