Jamiat Ulema-e Islam Fazal (JUI-F) is preparing for a countrywide Azadi march to protest against the policies of the sitting government. JUI-F chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman has been trying to mobilise the opposition from day one to form a grand alliance against the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to bring it down. The problem, however, is that the two other mainstream parties Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) are reluctant to lend their support to Moulana’s cause. They do not want to be part of any such opposition that openly threatens the democratically elected government of PTI. The parties have not yet shown any inclination towards joining the Azadi march and are maintaining their own position in protest against the sitting government.

Maulana is protesting against the ailing economy, government’s inability to stabilise, the lack of employment opportunities and the rising costs of living. There are no demands from the government to collaborate in any manner and the plan is to fight the government till it ends. The plan is unrest and anarchy to get the government to evacuate their positions in the parliament. We face a two-pronged problem in the current situation. The first is that the government is already battling the economy and more marches to bring stagnancy will only impact it further. The second is that the opposition parties are not on the same page as JUI-F because they do not want to take the government down, rather protest their demands and get the government to listen and negotiate. With a weak opposition alliance, the chances of impact reduce manifolds. Therefore, JUI-F has recently sought the help of Muttahida Majlis–e–Amal (MMA) to participate in the Azadi March.

Clearly, Maulana is trying to play the religion card. He wants to cash the religious sentiments that find representation in the religious-political parties by portraying the current government as anti-religion. However, due to the speech of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the religious narrative is in favour of PM Khan because he invoked a sense of Muslim brotherhood and called upon the Muslim community to fight the Islamophobia in the world. Convincing MMA to build an anti-Muslim narrative against PM Khan will not only be difficult. It will also face challenges in gaining support from the masses. At the same time, another aspect to consider is Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s own political clout which faced a blow in the recent elections, with Maulana losing his seat in the parliament. Managing to mobilise enough individuals to bring the government to an end will be a feat on its own.