Published:  12:29 AM, 05 November 2019

Pak Islamists camp in as PM Imran refuses to budge

Pak Islamists camp in as PM Imran refuses to budge Supporters of opposition parties offer evening prayers during what participants call Azadi March (Freedom March) to protest the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, Pakistan on November 3. -Reuters

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan ruled out any reprieve for jailed opposition leaders, saying that any agreement with them would be tantamount to treachery. In a Facebook post, Khan said the protesters encamped in Islamabad were only interested in striking a deal like the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO)- which allows opposition leaders currently in jail or facing charges to walk free.

"They just want to hear three words 'NRO' from me, which I will not utter as it will amount to treachery with the country," said Khan, adding, "Unless they are held accountable, the country could not be put on track of progress." Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the firebrand leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), which is spearheading the 'Azadi March, said it was not the NRO that he was after but the sacking of the government which was the only target of opposition parties.

They would not leave Islamabad till the rulers are sent packing, he vowed. He said moving towards the D-Chowk - where parliament is located - was under consideration. He said they would continue to keep sitting at the current venue till the opposition parties' decision in this regard.

He hinted at prolonging the stir in Islamabad so that their demands are met. Responding to the allegation that the Indian media was giving special coverage to the protest, Rahman said media all over the world was focusing on the march. "To the contrary, it is (Narendra) Modi who is happy that Imran Khan is Pakistan's prime minister," he said. The government decided to file a mutiny case against Rehman for delivering a provocative speech and "instigating people" against the prime minister and state institutions.


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