LAHORE    -   Leadership of two opposition parties, the PML-N and the JUI-F, which met here on Sunday agreed to hold long march to oust the incumbent government but they fell short of announcing a final date to lock down the federal capital.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman along with Akram Durrani and Maulana Amjad had a meeting with PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif at latter’s Model Town residence here to seek his party’s support for the planned long march on Islamabad. Senior PML-N leaders Raja Zafarul Haq, Ahsan Iqbal, Ayaz Sadiq, Khurrum Dastgir, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Barjees Tahir also attended the meeting which continued for well over two hours.

The two parties decided to hold meetings of their respective executive councils to discuss the issue in detail and then come up with a final date for what they called “Azadi March” to get rid of the present regime which they believe is incompetent and illegitimate.

JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman plans to start the decisive march in October. He wants fresh elections to be held to form a new government to pull the country out of the current crisis. But there are questions on the success of this move, particularly when some major opposition parties like the PPP and Jamat-e-Islami are not ready to lend their active support.

Briefing the media after the consultative meeting, PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said his party’s executive council would meet on September 30 to prepare recommendations for party Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif.

He said the PTI government had become a security threat for country’s economy and hence it should be thrown out of power sooner than later. “If the government remains in power for long it would be disastrous for the country”, he affirmed.

Akram Durrani said that executive council of JUI-F would meet on September 18 to discuss the issue. He stated that doubts had now been cleared about PML-N’s participation in the long march after Sunday’s meeting.

said that traders and lawyers were in contact with JUI-F. All the bar councils had assured the JUI-F of their support in case the government arrests the party workers before or during the planned march, he added.

Durrani said his party will also contact other opposition parties to convince them to join the anti-government drive.

One of the main opposition parties, the PPP, has already distanced itself from JUI-F’s planned sit-in. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari recently announced not to join the long march but promised to provide moral support for the anti-government movement.

He took the stance that PPP has had a clear and consistent policy about the dharna politics. He said PPP never joined the earlier sit-ins by Tahirul Qadri, Imran Khan and Tehreek-e-Labbaik because they were all ill-conceived moves and lacked clarity about the outcome.

Bilawal contended that his party had its own programme to agitate the public issues through mass mobilization campaign. The PPP leader is scheduled to tour across the country for the purpose. He has started addressing the public rallies from Sindh province.

Also, the PPP thinks that opposition should not give a final call for government’s ouster unless it was clear about the possible outcome and had some action plan ready in case the move fails to achieve the desired results. It also has fears that some other force may hijack the protest movement.

The opinion in the PML-N is also divided as some are in favour of participation in the long march while others are opposed to it.

Jamat-e-Islami, a religio-political party known for its street power is also not inclined to join the JUI-F ranks against the government. Though it has been critical of government’s policies, its leadership has its own plan to take on the government.