- Govt urges PMD head to move sit-in from outside top court to D-Chowk.
- ‘Now decision will be made in people’s court tomorrow [Monday]”.
- Maulana Fazl assures ministers that the protest will remain “peaceful”.
The federal government on Sunday urged Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) — a multi-party ruling alliance — chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to change the venue of his planned sit-in from outside the Supreme Court to D-Chowk in Islamabad.
Fazl, who is also head of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), had announced staging a “peaceful” sit-in outside the apex court on Monday (tomorrow) against Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial for “facilitating” and giving “VIP protocol” to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, following a meeting of PDM parties’ heads, also attended by PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif from London via video link.
In what could be called a U-turn, Federal Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar called on Maulana Fazl and urged him not to stage the sit-in outside the top court to prevent further tension in the country.
“The government wants the PDM to hold the protest at the D-Chowk,” Dar said, adding that law and order situation was already created a few days ago.
He made the remarks while referring to the countrywide violent protests that were triggered by Imran Khan’s arrest from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on May 9. The Rangers personnel had taken the PTI chairman into custody — acting on National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) warrant — in the Al-Qadir Trust case.
At least 10 people were killed and dozens of others sustained injuries during the days-long protests with internet services is remain suspended for more than five days across the country.
After the supporters attacked army installations, the army said that May 9 — the day when chaos gripped the nation following the PTI chief’s arrest — would go down in history as a “dark chapter”.
‘Now decision will be made in people’s court’
Setting aside their request, Fazl said that convoys from all over the country have left for Islamabad: “We have announced [about sit-in] and now the decision will be made in people’s court tomorrow [Monday].”
He assured the ministers that the protest will remain “peaceful”. The PDM chairman said that the nation will take to the street tomorrow.
A day earlier, inviting workers of all political parties to join the protest, the PDM chief had said that the sit-in in Islamabad outside the SC will continue until the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial resigns.
Angry protesters are coming to Islamabad: Sanaullah
Later, addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Sanaullah said intelligence agencies had cautioned him about staging the protest in the red zone or Constitutional Avenue area of the federal capital.
The agencies have assessed that protesters in large number are intending to attend the PDM protest and they are angry over “Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial due to the decisions being taken by the three-member bench” of the apex court.
“We fear that if this protest takes place in the red zone area [then] it will be difficult for the administration to handle the situation,” he added.
For this reason, the security czar said they had requested PDM chief Fazl to change the venue of the protest demonstration and added that the latter had sought time to take the final decision in this regard.
“We will meet him [Fazlur Rehman] again at 10pm tonight,” he added.
JUI-F finalised preparations
After the announcement of the JUI-F protest sit-in outside the Supreme Court, the workers started their movements with the main departure of the workers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on Monday morning.
Talking to journalists today, JUI-F leader Maulana Ahmad Ali Darwish 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 the JUI-F centre at 9.00am on Monday morning, Darwish added. After reaching Haklah Interchange, all convoys from KP will go to the apex court in the form of a central convoy, he added.