Multi-party coalition says it will soon issue a ‘white paper’ to expose the government’s ‘misdeeds’
The multi-party Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance on Friday announced it will boycott a joint session of Parliament set to take place on Sept. 13.
Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the PDM’s steering committee, spokesman Hafiz Hamdullah said no representatives of parties comprising the PDM would attend the joint session of Parliament on Monday that is set to mark the start of the fourth parliamentary year of the incumbent government with an address by President Arif Alvi.
He said the PDM had decided to engage with all opposition parties regarding a long march against the government in Islamabad. It had also decided to convene a “grand” convention on Sept. 26 that would include representatives from labor, farmer, clerk, legal and journalist bodies, he added.
“[The] PDM stands with media organizations and will continue to stand by them,” he said, referring to the government’s proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA), which has already been rejected by journalist bodies as being an attempt to exert state authority on freedom of expression.
Referring to Railways Minister Azam Swati accusing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) of “rigging” elections and that such institutions “should be set on fire,” Hamdullah said it was reflective of the government’s “non-parliamentary” and “non democratic” beliefs. “Babar Awan and Azam Swati have insulted the Election Commission and Parliament,” he said, adding that the PDM had rejected the government’s “unilateral” election reforms. “These unilateral reforms are another attempt to steal the election,” he said. “The government wishes to control institutions through threats,” he added.
The JUIF leader said the PDM had decided to issue a white paper against the government. “The white paper will expose the government’s dark deeds and failures,” he claimed.
According to Hamdullah, the PDM would stage rallies in Faisalabad on Oct. 16 and Dera Ismail Khan on Oct. 31. He said the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam would host a “Mufti Mahmud Conference” on Oct. 14 to honor one of the party’s founding members.
To a question, he said he did not wish to comment on recent remarks of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in which he had accused the PDM of complicity with the government. “Bilawal may use whatever language he deems appropriate. But the PDM will not respond to his remarks,” he said.