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Pakistan army chief warns JUI-F chief against Azadi march

IANS/Islamabad
Filed on October 25, 2019 | Last updated on October 25, 2019 at 06.46 am
Imran Khan, army chief bajwa, azadi march, maulana falzur rehman

(Agencies file)

Imran Khan claims army is behind him; won't resign.

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and warned him not to go for the Azadi march to Islamabad on October 31, Pakistani media reported on Thursday.

According to Geo TV, the army chief held a meeting with Rehman in which he categorically told the JUI-F chief that he stood by the constitution and democracy.

"We have been doing what the constitution asks for," the army chief reportedly said, according to Geo TV.

The TV channel claimed that General Bajwa reminded Rehman that he was a responsible political leader and must be aware of the current situation.

"The situation on the border with India is volatile due to the Kashmir crisis and Afghanistan's situation is also a source of trouble," Gen Bajwa was quoted as saying to the Geo TV anchor.

Bajwa is reported to have also referred to the Iran-Saudi Arabia conflict and told the JUI-F chief that it was not an appropriate time for staging the protest since the economy had been brought on the right track.

Bajwa made it clear that the army wouldn't permit destabilisation at this moment. "Imran Khan is a constitutional Prime Minister and neither I nor you can minus him," Bajwa was quoted by the TV channel.

The JUI-F chief has threatened to block the Pakistan capital with his protest against the "illegitimate" government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). His Azadi March, which is expected to have hundreds of thousands of participants, mainly religious hardliners from the JUI-F, is expected to enter Islamabad on October 31.

PM Imran says army behind himKhan has claimed that the Army stands behind him and he won't give in to the opposition's demand for his resignation, Pakistani media reports said.

He went on to say that India is behind the 'Azadi March', although adding that he had no proof to support his claim.

The Imran Khan-led government allowed the proposed Azadi March on the condition that it takes place within the ambit of the Constitution and it is a peaceful protest.

While talking to senior journalists, Khan said, "Pakistan Army stands behind me and it fully supports the government agenda. The civil-military relations are based on trust and both enjoy this trust in each other. I will never leave the country and will bring the country out of difficulties."

The prime minister sees a conspiracy behind the JUI-F chief's protest which, he said, is driven by a certain agenda.





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