Islamabad - The government and opposition on Saturday reached agreement over the contentious issue of the venue for the upcoming JUI-F-led protest thus making it a win-win situation for both sides.

Addressing a press conference, defence minister and head of the government’s negotiation committee, Pervez Khattak claimed that the government and Rehbar Committee of the opposition have reached consensus regarding the protest.

He said the opposition committee had not demanded resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan and early general elections and it assured the government of holding a peaceful protest.

Khattak said, as per the agreement, the opposition parties will not hold their Azadi March program at D-Chowk but at the open ground near Itwar Bazaar in H-9.

He said the government has been assured that the participants of the long march will not violate the law and will ensure implementation of the decisions of the High Court and the Supreme Court.

Opp will hold its show in H-9 and won’t enter Red Zone

The minister said the government believed in the democratic process and staging of protests is the right of the opposition according to the constitution.

Leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and head of the opposition Rehbar Committee, Akram Khan Durrani also said that the participants of the anti-government protest “will not enter the Red Zone” of Islamabad.

“All 11 members of (opposition) committee are in agreement that the protesters will not enter the Red Zone,” he said.

Durrani said the protest march will be held “on a road” and it “won’t be prolonged”. “We will make further decisions as and when appropriate.”

The opposition leader however reiterated his party’s demands of the prime minister’s resignation, holding of fresh elections without any interference from the military, and the protection of clauses pertaining to Islam in the Constitution.

Durrani also called for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to release all political prisoners. He rejected the ban on ‘Ansar-ul-Islam’, the alleged militant wing of the JUI-F. “All parties have such wings and it is beyond my understanding why this one was banned,” he commented.

The JUI-F leader insisted that the march will be “peaceful” and called on the government “to open all pathways and roads in the face of an existing threat to the law and order in the country”. He said that he will personally head the caravans of protesters from the southern districts as well as North and South Waziristan.

Durrani expressed confidence that the marchers will be given a warm welcome by all districts they would pass through and said that people from Peshawar, Nowshera and other areas will join the caravan. He said that caravans from Chitral and the adjoining areas will take the Karakoram Highway.

The JUI-F led Azadi March will start today (Sunday) from Karachi and enter Islamabad on October 31.

In a related development, an agreement has also been signed between JUI-F and district administration Islamabad.