Azadi March


If the Azadi March by the JUI (F) is as much of a non-event as its opponents, which include the present government, say it is, then they should not appear as worried about it as they do. JUI(F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman upped the ante by finally announcing a definite date, October 27, for the March. He still does not have a firm commitment by either of the main opposition parties, the PML(N) or the PPP, but himself will have to provide the protesters who will provide the cannon fodder for the March.
The Maulana and the government together are painting a dire picture. While the top echelons of the KP government are making prohibitory noises, the Maulana is speaking of how the country will become a battlefield if the leaders are arrested. At the same time, he is disseminating ominous talk of ‘Plan B’ and ‘Plan C’ to be implemented in that eventuality. It seems counterproductive for either to regard the March as a quasi-military operation. That the right to protest should be given would seems self-evident for a party which was catapulted onto the national stage because of its own dharna in 2014, but that might ber the very reason that it would not want any other party using such a tactic.
However, both the PTI and the JUI(F) should remember that the government did not fall because of the dharna, and it was only when there were elections that it transformed its dharna exposure into the 2018 election victory.The JUI(F) has no guarantee of success even if its March succeeds in mobilising the sort of numbers it is tossing about.