JUIF chief says united opposition will decide on new ‘charter’ in meeting on Nov. 13
The true purpose of the united opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is to restore a “true” democracy and constitutional system in the country, Maulana Fazlur Rehman said on Sunday.
Addressing media after a meeting of the 11-party alliance, he said that the steering committee of the PDM would convene in Islamabad on Nov. 13 (Friday), and representatives of all the parties would submit recommendations for a proposed agreement to this effect. A second meeting, he said, would then be attended by the leaders of all the parties and would finalize the agreement.
Rehman, who is the president of the PDM as well as the head of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl), said that the movement would be ramping up its anti-government protests in light of the economic crises facing citizens, as well as the prevailing political situation.
Noting that PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari and PMLN’s Nawaz Sharif had both attended Sunday’s meeting via video link, the PDM chief that everyone was on the same page about who was responsible for the current crises facing Pakistan. “A person is no longer able to lead a dignified life [in Pakistan],” he said, noting inflation was crippling the lives of average citizens.
To a question, Rehman said that the PDM leaders had expressed concern over a delay in the inquiry ordered by Army Chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa into the alleged kidnapping of the Sindh police chief to force him into issuing arrest orders for Captain (retd.) Muhammad Safdar. “When the [Sindh] police officers announced their decision to go on leave [in protest], the Army chief intervened and announced that the matter would be investigated within 10 days. Three weeks have passed and there has been no report. Why it is being delayed?” he said.
The JUIF chief also noted that the PDM leaders had unanimously condemned a statement of Interior Minister Brig (retd.) Ijaz Shah in which he appeared to warn the opposition of attacks by the Taliban if they continued to raise questions about the military’s alleged interference in the political domain.
Addressing an event in Nankana Sahib, Shah had claimed the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had, “in reaction,” targeted leaders of the Awami National Party for their anti-militancy stance, and warned that the opposition was facing the same dangers.
Rehman alleged the minister had admitted the state’s complicity in the killings of political leaders. He regretted that Shah had “threatened” the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) with similar assassinations if they continued their anti-establishment narrative. “This is confession from the state as to who is behind the killings of the political leaders and members,” he said, adding that if any terrorist strike occurred during a PDM meeting, the opposition would not wait for any investigations. “[We] already know the names of the persons and institutions which will commit this crime,” he claimed.
Who is the establishment?
To another question, Rehman said “everyone” understood who was being addressed when the word “establishment” was used in Pakistan. “This is a non-issue,” he said, adding that the opposition had no differences of opinion on this. “We respect the country’s institutions, but if the names of politicians can be taken … then the name of someone belonging to the country’s institutions can also be taken,” he said. “This is not a crime.”
The PDM, after having staged massive rallies in Gujranwala, Karachi and Quetta, is set to hold its next major anti-government demonstration in Peshawar on Nov. 22. This would be followed by rallies in Multan on Nov. 30 and in Lahore on Dec. 13.