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PDM to show political power on March 26, govt ready to resist

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Thursday announced a long march against Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government on March 26. The march is seen as one of the major components of the opposition’s anti-government movement, which began last year.

The alliance’s leadership in Islamabad, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the opposition parties in the PDM will contest the upcoming Senate elections jointly.

“Caravans of long march will leave for Islamabad from across the country on March 26,” Rehman said and added that the PDM had decided that “we will contest the Senate elections jointly; there will be a joint strategy for it and we will not compete against each other. We will field joint candidates.”

Dawn further reported that the opposition alliance chief said that the PDM will decide about the Pakistan Peoples Party’s suggestion to move a no-confidence motion against the prime minister, as well as about resigning from assemblies, after the Senate elections.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman presiding meeting in Islamabad. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Maryam Nawz and other leaders of 11-member political parties are also seated.

Rehman said that the opposition parties had decided to “stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the common man” against the rulers, whom he held responsible for a steep rise in the prices of electricity, gas, petrol and food items.

Rehman and the alliance also rejected the one-member inquiry commission comprising retired Supreme Court Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh set up by the government to probe the Broadsheet scandal, and “declares it an attempt by the government to mask its corruption”, he added.

The Broadsheet LLC, based in the Isle of Man, was hired by the NAB (National Accountability Bureau) during Musharraf’s regime to trace out hidden assets of Pakistanis in foreign countries. The NAB signed an agreement with the Broadsheet but terminated it in 2003.

The scandal proved that Pakistan has been plagued by corruption. Instead of targeting the corrupt, the Broadsheet was used for political gains and safe passage was given to the corrupt people to escape accountability through National Reconciliation Ordinance.

Demanding an immediate decision in the Pakistan government’s foreign funding case, Rehman said the prime minister’s call for an open trial in the case was a “drama” because 18 of the party’s bank accounts identified by the State Bank were being kept secret, according to Dawn.

“The opposition will continue its protest against the behaviour of the speaker and the chairman in the National Assembly and Senate and we will not cooperate with them in running proceedings of the house at any cost,” the PDM president added.

He said Transparency International, whose analysis Prime Minister Imran used to laud in the past, had today “declared him a certified thief”.

Accusing Imran Khan of seeking the biggest National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in the foreign funding case, the PDM chief said “Foreign funding case is the biggest scandal in the country’s history and Imran Khan is the main accused in the case.”

Pakistan Peoples’ Party chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday called upon the joint opposition party alliance to “force the removal of puppets”, referring to Imran Khan and his cabinet.

The PDM had organised several rallies including those in Peshawar, Gujranwala, Karachi, Quetta, Multan, and Lahore since October 16.

Sheikh Rashid

Interior minister Sheikh Rashid has said he hopes Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) will not go beyond long march and no trust move. “I hope PDM will not go beyond long march and no trust move.  Heaven will not fall due to resignations. However democratic unrest will spread” he said this while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.

He went on to say PDM ire has much subsided. Governments do not go home due to movements. We staged Dharna for 120 days but government did not go.“Whosoever are speaking they will resign they should mull over their decision. No change will come due to resignations. Government has completed 3 years and only one year is left. In the fourth year election activities start, he remarked.

Citing to holding Senate polls through open balloting interior minister said opposition should take part in it. Such opportunities do not come daily. The politicians who miss the chance repent over it. The two parties should respect charter of democracy for holding election through open balloting.

He disclosed Senate polls will take place in the month of March. These elections will strengthen the democracy.

He underlined if Maulana Fazlur Rehman takes part in Senate polls then his ire will abate.

He pointed out that both PPP and PML-N agreed and signed on open balloting in charter of democracy but now they have backtracked. 

He held this is the senate where there were 64 votes and they decreased within a few moments.

Interior minister said PM desires no purchase and sale takes place in Senate polls. Opposition should take place in Senate polls through open balloting.  Whosoever has to contest the polls he is in market, he added.

He stated that entering into blind alley is not politics.  The dialogue is the best option in the politics.  We are not giving tough time to opposition. We will do what they do. Political dialogue have to be made. Democracy gains strength from political dialogue.  Dialogue is second name of democracy.  Those who pursue path of violence they block the way to dialogue. They lay dynamite on the way.

“I have no contacts with PPP. Whatever decision is made by PDM today, I will give its reply tomorrow outside Lall Haveli.