Warning about massive anti-government protests, Pakistani opposition leaders have given an ultimatum to PM Imran Khan to resign from his post in 48 hours. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, a right-wing Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) leader, and his supporters have launched an "Azadi March" against Imran Khan government accusing him of rigging the 2018 general elections. They have been demanding his resignation since the launch of the march which entered the seventh day on November 8. Maulana Fazlur Rehman said at a public address that the government negotiators should not come for talks if the prime minister's resignation is off the table.
"No need to come to us. When you come, you must come with the intention of leaving the corridors of power behind. You are at a dead end now and now you must decide whether you want to continue to remain there or come out and give back the people their right," Maulana said.
The leader said that the opposition does not seek National Reconciliation Ordinance from Khan, instead, they will not give it to him. The NRO granted amnesty to politicians, political workers, and bureaucrats who were accused of corruption, embezzlement, money laundering, a murder which was earlier started by Pervez Musharraf. Opposition's Rahbar Committee said it will increase pressure on the government. They warned that the pressure is just part of the first phase. Party workers are ready to march for three months, he added.
Senior JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani said, "The Azadi March will take a new direction after two days".
PPP leader Farhatullah said that the opposition's pressure is the first phase. Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, a member of the government's negotiating team, held talks with Maulana Fazlur Rehman at his residence in Islamabad in order to resolve the situation. On Thursday, Speaker Elahi said he will give good news to the nation very soon regarding negotiations between the government and the opposition. The speaker has met the opposition head for the third time on Wednesday before making the statement. He informed the media that there are many processes underway at the same time.
"We are hopeful and things seem to be going towards betterment," he said.
On the other hand, Fazlur Rehman on Wednesday warned that chaos will ensue if their demands were not met. Both Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) have exerted pressure on the PM and the protests. The Rehbar Committee is seeking Khan's resignation and fresh elections in the country without the supervision of the armed forces. But the Pakistan Government has asked the protesters to end the march. The Army has denied interference in political matters.
Pakistan Army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said, "We are too busy in matters of national security and defense to become involved in things like these and respond to these allegations. The dharna is a political activity that the army as an institution has nothing to do with."
(With inputs from PTI)