Leader of opposition alliance claims ‘impartial’ role of security establishment evident from the JUIF’s performance in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa local body polls
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is ready for its March 23 anti-inflation long march on Islamabad, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said on Sunday, adding that the multi-party opposition alliance had already decided against any delays due to the new schedule of the second phase of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa local body polls.
Addressing reporters after a meeting of the PDM’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa contingent in Peshawar, he said it had been decided to proceed with the March 23 protest despite the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) delaying the second phase of provincial local government elections till March 27. The opposition is “urging the entire nation to come out of their homes and protest against the illegitimate and incompetent government,” he said, stressing that ongoing inflation was having an adverse impact on the lives of average citizens and it was now the entire nation’s responsibility to ensure the prevailing situation did not continue.
During his press interaction, Fazl—also the president of the PDM—sought to dispel the perception that his party had defeated the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the first phase of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa local body polls because of the situation in Afghanistan or through a “deal” with the security establishment. “We should not link results of the elections with the internal or external factors,” he said, stressing that the PDM’s principal demand remained free and fair elections.
Rather, he emphasized, the “neutral” role of the establishment was evident from the results of the local government elections and this should be appreciated. “In the 2018 general elections, they [establishment] had interfered in the [electoral] process to help the PTI secure a fake mandate,” he alleged and claimed that the PTI would suffer another defeat in the second phase of the local government elections on March 27.
The JUI-F’s victory was the victory of the PDM and the people of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, he said, adding that the people of the province had expressed their unhappiness at the PTI government and its policies.
To a question, Fazl said Pakistan should avoid causing any problems with Afghanistan, as the war-torn state needed to stabilize after decades of conflict. He alleged, without elaboration, that “some forces” were trying to shift Islamabad’s focus from India to Afghanistan.