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Pakistan Democratic Movement Launched Against PTI-led Government

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Opposition issues 26-point resolution demanding Imran Khan’s resignation and free and fair elections

Opposition parties on Sunday concluded their all-parties conference by launching a new Pakistan Democratic Movement and demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Addressing a press conference after the eight-hour Pakistan Peoples Party-hosted moot, senior leaders of the opposition said they would pressure the government through all political and democratic options, including resignations from Parliament, no-confidence motions, and public meetings, protest demonstrations and rallies starting from December and a “decisive long march” toward Islamabad in January 2021.

“In the first phase, beginning October, rallies will be held in Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Punjab,” said Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. “In the second phase, starting December, huge demonstrations will take place country-wide. In the third phase, to begin in January next year, a long-march will move towards Islamabad,” he said, adding the opposition was willing to submit mass resignations to Parliament if the government resisted its demands.

Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shehbaz Sharif said the opposition had no option but to decide on the protest movement, as the incumbent government was “selected” and could not handle the country’s affairs. “The country’s future is at stake if the government continues its regime,” he said.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, meanwhile, said that if any party goes back on the commitments made in the APC, then the people must hold it accountable.

Joint resolution

Presenting the details of the “action plan,” Rehman read out a 26-point resolution listing the united opposition’s demands. It claimed that the “incumbent selected government has been granted artificial stability by the establishment that has imposed it on the people through rigged elections” and demanded free-and-fair elections in the country and electoral reforms.

“The selected government has ruined the common man’s life with record-high inflation, unemployment, and taxes … we demand the prices of flour, sugar, ghee, electricity and gas be immediately brought down,” he said, adding that the government’s failed policies threatened the country’s economy and posed a serious threat to its atomic power and sovereignty.

The JUIF chief said that the opposition had stressed that the 1973 Constitution, the 18th Amendment and the National Finance Commission Award reflected the “nation’s united viewpoint,” and vowed to fight against any attacks to provincial autonomy. He said the opposition rejects the “nefarious intentions” of introducing a presidential system in the country.

“The selected government is responsible for the fall of Kashmir,” Rehman claimed, adding that India’s decision to abrogate its special constitutional status was made “with the incumbent government’s support.” He, similarly, alleged the government’s policy over Afghanistan had been a total failure.

The JUIF chief said the APC had condemned the “unprecedented” gags on the media and censorship and called for the immediate release of all detained journalists. It also condemned the “fake cases based on political revenge” against political leaders, leaders, and activists, he said.

The declaration claimed ignoring the National Action Plan had resulted in a “surge in terrorism” and expressed grave concerns over the deteriorating law and order situation.

Fazl also alleged the “inexperienced government” had put the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into danger and demanded it be expedited in the national interest. “The selected government has paralyzed Parliament and the voice of the opposition was being suppressed. [We] will not cooperate with the rubber-stamp Parliament anymore,” he said and called for elections in Gilgit-Baltistan to be held on time and “without intervention.”

The JUIF chief claimed a committee had been constituted to draft a Charter of Democracy, which would guide the country to becoming the Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam had envisioned. He also said a truth commission would be formed to “bring forth Pakistan’s true history since 1947.”

The resolution also demanded sacking of Special Assistant to the P.M. on Information Asim Saleem Bajwa, claiming a transparent investigation into media reports of his offshore businesses and properties should be conducted. It said accountability of all members of the judiciary, defense forces, bureaucracy and Parliament should be conducted under a uniform law.

“This meeting has declared that the present selected government has been provided strength by the establishment which had imposed it on the people through rigging in the elections. The meeting has expressed grave concerns over the increasing role of the establishment in politics and considered it a threat to country’s national security and institutions,” said Rehman, as he also called for an end to the practice of “missing persons.”

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