A call for Azadi March was given by Maulana Fazal ur Rehman, leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F), against the anti incumbency of Imran Khan led PTI Government of Pakistan. The rally kicked off from Karachi on 27 October 2019 and scheduled to enter Islamabad on 31 October 2019. The Maulana Fazalur Rehman himself leading the tens of thousands of protestors from all walks of life including women and children. Besides various religious groups, virtually all opposition parties including Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) also extended full support and participating in ongoing Azadi March. ‘The Azadi March has become a symbol of Pakistan’s rejection of the fake government’, Fazal said. He said the march included participants from across the country, including Karachi and Balochistan. He further added that ‘the rise in inflation is because of the incorrect policies of the government’. The Azadi March has put Pakistan administration out of gear and entire nation has come to standstill.
Why this Protest
Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his election campaign last year, had made tall claim of good governance to ensure accountability, transparency, alleviation of poverty, employment and transform the country into Madina ki Riyasat, Naya Pakistan. However, turn of events took the nation in exactly the opposite direction. For common man prices of ‘Sugar is up, Flour is up, Electricity is up’, and they are facing the levels of hunger, fear or despair that have driven millions of people from the Middle East and Central America to flee their countries. Pakistan economy is passing through a worst phase and got embroiled in vicious trap of loan and further loan to pay the interest as country under Prime Minister Imran Khan borrowed huge sums from China and Saudi Arabia. It ended foreign exchange controls and slapped taxes on numerous goods and activities, hoping for a bailout by the International Monetary Fund that would allow Pakistan to start repaying its whopping $97 billion foreign debt. Last but not the least, country has been placed in grey list in terror financing case by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global watchdog on terror financing. The sword of getting into ‘Blacklist’ is hanging on its neck as the FATF has given the time till February 2020 to fully comply with the FATF guidelines on the issue.
Dubious Role of Pakistan Army
Its open secret of Pakistan that its Pakistan Army has been dictating the terms in day to day functioning of the country for last 72 years since creation of the country in 1947, directly by imposing Martial Law through military coup or having puppet civilian Government. Pak Army has its fingers in almost every sector of the economy. It is beyond comprehension of anyone and everyone as to how and why all powerful Pak Army remain bystanders during this farcical drama of Azadi March. It is widely believed that the Army ‘selected’ Imran Khan, but are they dissatisfied with his performance for some reason? Are they supporting it behind the scene like a hidden puppeteer?
Pakistan has been facing a deep-seated economic and financial crisis and seemingly intractable governance issues for the last few years. Factors such as international sanctions and global economic slowdown, which have worsened Pakistan’s economic difficulties, were beyond Pakistan’s control. However major issue of downfall of Pakistan remain, is its obsessiveness with Kashmir and rivalry with India on the pretext of unfounded fear of India being their potential and only ‘enemy’. The country is spending major chunk of their revenue on defence for procurement of arms and other warlike equipments thereby putting entire burden on common man.
The patience of Pakistani awam ran out and they took to streets under Maulana Fazal ur Rehman. But issue remains as to why Pakistan Army is quite and allowed ‘Sieze of Pakistan’ where entire nation has come to standstill for so many days. There is no buyer to the idea that event of such magnitude can take place without the consent of General Bajwa. Is it Bajwa’s game plan to divert attention of Pakistani awam from the Kashmir because of his helplessness of not being able to take any action post abrogation of Article 370, the issue on which the very ‘Existence and Survival’ has hinged upon for last 72 years and pass on the blame of their in action on ‘Pakistan’s internal turmoil’ and failure of civil Government?
As Markandey Katju, a noted retired justice of Supreme Court of India said, ‘combined with the fact that the Pakistan economy is tanking, public debt mounting, prices of essential commodities rising and people’s distress growing, this situation is a recipe for a total collapse of everything and a prolonged period of chaos in Pakistan’.
31 Oct 2019/Thursday Written by: Azeema