ISLAMABAD: The venue of Pakistan Democratic Movement’s Kashmir Day protest rally has been changed and now the Opposition alliance will hold the public gathering in Azad Kashmir on Feb 5.
The development took place after a telephonic conversation between PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl ur Rehman, according to Geo News.
The TV channel reported Tuesday that a delegation of senior PML-N leaders including AJK PM Raja Farooq Haider and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had called on the PDM chief following Nawaz’s call.
The decision to move the venue from Rawalpindi to AJK was finalised after the meeting and reportedly on the request of the PML-N, which is hosting the political gathering. However, it was not clear what compelled the PDM to change the venue.
Earlier this month, the Maulana had announced that the PDM would hold a Kashmir Day rally at Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh to “show solidarity with the Kashmiri people”.
While the stated intention of the rally seemed benign, the announcement was seen as a thinly-veiled power move as it came despite the military saying it saw ‘no reason’ for the Opposition alliance to march towards Rawalpindi.
It may be added here that Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major-General Babar Iftikhar had said in a January 11 press briefing that he did not see any reason for the PDM to head to Rawalpindi.
“If at all they want to come, we will take care of them. Serve them tea [chai paani]. What more can I say,” he had said.
The ISPR chief had said — in what seemed to be a reference to the PDM’s brinkmanship — that the army is simply doing its job and will respond to criticism only when it is felt that the criticism is based on facts or holds some weight.
“We are pre-occupied and do not want to get involved in such things nor will we. We have stayed the course [and] we will stay the course.”