In meeting with spokespersons, Pakistan’s prime minister claims ‘flop’ Lahore rally proves public has rejected opposition’s narrative
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said opposition parties could resign from Parliament if they so desired but he would not bow down to their blackmailing attempts.
“I will not give in to their blackmailing,” he was quoted as saying by sources privy to the developments of the meeting. “Now that they have staged jalsas (rallies), they can also try their hand at a long march,” he added.
The united opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement has demanded the government be dissolved by Jan. 31, followed by “free and fair” general elections. If the government does not accept their demands, PDM leaders have warned, they would march on Islamabad as part of their efforts to oust the “selected” government.
Terming the opposition’s Lahore rally a “flop,” the prime minister also accused Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Vice President Maryam Nawaz of lacking leadership skills. “Maryam Nawaz is maligning state institutions,” the prime minister has been quoted as saying of Nawaz’s criticism of the military’s role in Pakistan’s political sphere.
Khan also claimed that he was well aware of the mindsets of the people of Lahore, adding that they did not get involved in political activity without careful consideration of the situation. He said that many “ineffective” movements had been launched from the Punjab capital and had also been buried there, adding that “the fate of the PDM will also be the same.”
According to sources, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the opposition’s rally was merely “average,” and did not raise any concerns. The meeting’s participants also slammed Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai, who raised eyebrows by alleging Punjabis had aided British colonialists in taking over India prior to Partition.
The meeting also discussed the impact of the opposition’s rallies during the ongoing second wave of the novel coronavirus, with the prime minister criticizing them for ignoring his pleas to suspend political activities amidst a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections and death. “They put the people’s lives at risk,” he was quoted as saying.