Government rubbishes rally at Lahore’s Minar-e-Pakistan as a ‘flop’
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday slammed the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)’s rally in Lahore as “pathetic” and reiterated his promise to never give “an NRO” to opposition leaders.
“Pathetic. PDM spent so much money, time, effort and displayed utter callousness by endangering people’s lives during COVID-19 spike—showing the scant regard they have for citizens’ safety and well-being,” he wrote on Twitter. “All this just to blackmail me into giving them an NRO to save their looted wealth. Let me once again reiterate: I will never give an NRO. Whatever future plans of further blackmail PDM may have, my message is categorical: There will never be an NRO from my government no matter what tactics the looters devise,” he added.
Echoing the prime minister, government ministers termed the public gathering at Minar-e-Pakistan a “flop,” and claimed the people of Lahore had rejected the narrative of the PDM. “Thank you large-hearted Lahoris for rejecting the failed politics of the opposition parties,” read a statement issued by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. “The people of Lahore have given their verdict by staying aloof from the PDM’s agenda of creating chaos. The PDM should repent for indulging in negative politics after seeing the masses’ rejection at Minar-e-Pakistan,” he added.
Punjab government spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan accused the opposition of risking people’s lives and warned of legal action. “The few thousand people who gathered at the PDM public meeting should voluntarily quarantine themselves for at least three days,” she said. “Maryam Nawaz has failed in her plan of creating unrest, chaos and law and order situation in Lahore to protect Sharif family’s ill-gotten money,” she added.
The 11-party PDM concluded the “final phase” of its anti-government rallies at Lahore’s Minar-e-Pakistan, with opposition leaders promising to march on Islamabad in late January or early February. They have vowed to resign en masse from Parliament and warned of street agitation if the government does not step down and announce free-and-fair elections.