Opposition alliance says it will gather in federal capital next year to demonstrate against policies of PTI-led government
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Monday announced it will stage an “anti-inflation march” in Islamabad on March 23—Pakistan Day—to demonstrate against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government’s “policy failures.”
Addressing a press conference after a meeting of party leaders, PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman, claimed that people would gather in Islamabad from across Pakistan to voice their anger against inflation. He said the PDM’s component parties would organize smaller meetings in all the country’s provinces ahead of the march.
In Punjab, said Fazl, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif would stage a public meeting. Similarly, the meeting in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa would be organized by Fazl himself; Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party President Mahmood Khan Achakzai would address crowds in Balochistan; and JUI-P President Shah Owais Noorani would stage a meeting in Sindh.
“A seminar will also be held,” he said, adding that he would also meet with representatives of the Supreme Court Bar Association and Pakistan Bar Council to hold consultations on legal avenues to counter the actions of the incumbent government.
The JUIF chief said that the seminar’s schedule would be finalized after consultations with lawyers, members of civil society, businessmen, and other stakeholders so the PDM could take everyone into confidence over its plans. To a question, he said the PDM was in agreement over lawmakers resigning from Parliament en masse to pressure the government, adding that the alliance would decide when it was appropriate to deploy this tactic.
To another question on why the PDM had chosen Pakistan Day, traditionally marked by a parade in the federal capital, to stage its protest, Fazl said that Islamabad was the place to resolve people’s problems and as members of the nation, the PDM had a right to stage its protest on such a momentous occasion. He also refused to confirm whether the march would last for a single day or would be the launch of a sit-in movement.
The JUIF chief said the PDM meeting had unanimously condemned the lynching of a Sri Lankan national in Sialkot over blasphemy allegations, stressing that no one could be allowed to take the law into their own hands. “Such incidents should be curbed, and cannot be appreciated in any manner,” he added.
Fazl reiterated that the 2018 general elections were “rigged,” adding that a government that had come into power without the mandate of the people could not be allowed to inflict crises of inflation, poverty, unemployment and lawlessness on the nation.