Azadi March Kicks Off

10/28/2019

The political landscape of the country is in turmoil with former Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif’s ailment and the Azadi March setting into motion. The government has constantly been negotiating with the Rahbar Committee made in charge of the decisions regarding Azadi March by Jamiat Ulema-e Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Despite claims of non-negotiation the government and the Rahbar Committee have been able to strike a deal regarding the political procession entering Islamabad. The aim of the opposition initially was to enter the Red Zone, however, the government has been able to push them to consider non-entry into the area and opting for another venue instead.

This is certainly an achievement on part of both parties, that were initially assuming a more defensive stance - with the government promising action as per the law dictates and the opposition promising chaos in the capital. The opposition to this point has not agreed to let go of its demand for the resignation of PM Imran Khan. However, there is still a chance for negotiation as, despite deadlock on certain clauses, both parties are agreeing to sit for dialogue to reach an agreement. The March will move towards Islamabad from Karachi, with the initial political gathering taking place in Karachi on Sunday.
Leaders from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) also joined in the gathering with promises of difficult days ahead for the government. Despite PPP’s initial resistance to support the anti-government march, they have finally decided to support JUI-F’s movement against the government. However, with former PM’s ailment, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) is at a critical position as to support the individual circumstance of their leader or offer their full support to the anti-government movement. The upcoming days are going to be very crucial for both the government and the opposition because they will decide the fate of politics in the country. The entire buildup is a result of the constant tensions and lacks cooperation between the government and the opposition since Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) assumed power. The lack of debate within the parliament has alienated both sides and the government will either have to find grounds to cooperate or risk a huge blow to the economy due to the massive number of protestors out on the streets of Pakistan.
The government needs to have a concrete plan as to how they will counter the losses that industries are incurring, as that is the main reason behind several factions rallying behind Maulana Fazlur Rehman.