Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday announced that the party would begin its anti-government ‘Azadi March’ on October 27. “The current government is the result of a fake election and fake results,” Fazl said during a press conference. He said that all opposition parties had rejected the July 25, 2018 election results and had called for fresh elections. “In this regard, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal have carried out 15 ‘million marches’ in the country to raise awareness among the people,” he said. “As a result of this illegal government and its incompetency, the country’s economy has sunk […] traders have shut down businesses as a result of heavy taxation. The Muslims of Pakistan are in anguish over the state of religion in the country,” he continued. He said a meeting between JUI-F members was held earlier in the day in which it was decided that on October 27 – the day celebrated by Kashmiris across the world as Black Day – the party would express complete solidarity with Kashmiris and with those demonstrations of solidarity, a march on Islamabad would begin. “This will be an Azadi March. Groups of people from all over the country will embark on this journey, which will culminate in Islamabad, where we will send the government packing,” he said. “We will gather at D-Chowk,” he said, adding that the party leaders and supporters would not “disperse easily”. The JUI-F chief rejected the impression that he was “going solo” and said that the party was “in touch with all the other parties and making decisions in consultation with them”. “We met Bilawal Bhutto sahib today and some very positive developments took place during our meeting. Yesterday, you must have seen the PML-N delegation speak. Some positive developments took place then as well.” When asked by reporters whether the PPP and PML-N would also participate in the sit-in alongside the JUI-F or only the march that day, Fazl responded by saying, “The entire country is showing up. The traders’ community will be there. Doctors, lawyers are coming. We are in direct contact with the people from all walks of life. I can speak for the readiness all these people have shown.” A reporter again asked the JUI-F chief whether the above-mentioned people would include representatives from the PPP and the PML-N, to which he said, “God willing”. To a question regarding the one demand from which the party would not budge during the sit-in, he said the protest would continue “until the government steps down”. Fazl also brushed aside a mention of Shaikh Rasheed’s attempts to dissuade him from coming to Islamabad owing to a breakout of dengue in the city, saying, “We have no business with dengue”. He then twisted the word to mockingly refer to the prime minister with whom “his only concern lies”. Meanwhile, a statement issued by the PPP said that Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had “welcomed the announcement of [a] march by Maulana Fazlur Rehman towards Islamabad on the 27th”. “It was agreed upon in principle between both leaders that the PTI government’s failure in addressing core issues confronting the nation have left the opposition with no choice but to take to streets,” said Bilawal’s spokesperson Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar in the statement. According to the statement, Bilawal had convened a meeting of the PPP core committee next week in Islamabad, during which “the extent to which and modalities of how PPP can support the march” would be worked out.