LAHORE: Top leaders of opposition alliance of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) said early elections were the only way to take the country forward amid rising inflation and skyrocketing prices.
The demand was put forth by PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif as they addressed a press conference following a meeting at the latter’s residence.
Briefing the media, Shahbaz said the country’s political developments were discussed in detail during the meeting. He added that matters related to PDM, skyrocketing inflation, increase in electricity, flour prices, and dengue — which is wreaking havoc in the country — also came under discussion.
The Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly said all political parties and the masses demand free and fair elections in the country, which is the “only way to take Pakistan forward”.
“This is not an easy path; we will have to commit all our energies to it, work, day and night, and only then can we take the country back to the state it was in during 2018 — after that, we can take the country towards progress,” he said. For this, we need to hold free and fair elections, he reiterated.
Responding to a question, Shahbaz said if Fazl calls for a long march against the government, he and his party would back him. Shehbaz Sharif asks PM Khan to ‘restore prosperous Pakistan of the past’
President of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and leader of the opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif Saturday called out the federal government for failing to resolve public issues and demanded that “transparent elections” be held in the country immediately to ‘restore the prosperous Pakistan of the past’.
Speaking to media alongside JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Lahore, Shehbaz said holding elections was the quickest way to recommence Pakistan’s journey towards prosperity.
“We will have to work day and night and utilise all resources to bring the country back to the pre-2018 state,” he told journalists.
He reiterated his call for launching a movement against the government over “unprecedented inflation” which he said had caused hardships for the masses.
The PML-N leader said the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of opposition parties, was united in its cause and that raising a voice against inflation was the right of the people.
Shehbaz called out Prime Minister Imran Khan for “improper handling of sensitive matters”, saying “history is a witness to sacrifices rendered by the institution responsible for Pakistan’s defence. Even Modi could not harm it the way Imran did”.
Fazl announces new round of rallies
For his part, Fazl said the PDM alliance was steadfast and serious in achieving its goals of ousting the incumbent government — which was the original motive when the alliance was formed in September last year.
Fazl said a “historic” public gathering would be held in Faisalabad on October 16 and a large gathering would take place in Dera Ghazi Khan on October 31. Prior to this, JUI-F has announced it will hold the Mufti Mehmood Conference on October 14.
“The people want to get rid of the government which has been forced on them, and to resolve this issue, there is a need to hold elections at the earliest,” the PDM chief said, adding: “The institutions have been ruined.”
PDM postponed meeting
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Monday postponed its meeting due to the demise of Dr Abdul Qadir Khan and Pakistan Muslim League senior leader Pervaiz Malik last day.
The PDM Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman during the last day’s meeting of the opposition alliance held in Islamabad decided to put off the meeting. The last day’s meeting was attended by senior leadership of PDM including, former premier Nawaz Sharif and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, Ishaq Dar and Maryam Nawaz through video link, Aftab Sherpao, Hafiz Hamdullah, Owais Noorani, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Ishaq also participated in the meeting.
During the meeting the PDM leadership also offered condolence on the demise of PML-N leader Pervaiz Malik and Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan. Meanwhile, it was decided in the meeting that PDM will hold a public gathering in Faisalabad on October 16 as per schedule. Talking to media after the meeting, PDM Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that laws were never made for an individual and added that ordinance promulgated by Imran Khan government was meant to facilitate the ruling party only. Fazl said that no stone was left unturned to push former PM Nawaz Sharif against the wall.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Miftah Ismail refuse relief
Former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former finance minister Miftah Ismail have refused to take relief under the Amended National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance 2021 in the LNG reference on Tuesday.
At the outset of the hearing at an accountability court in Islamabad, Abbasi, who is also the senior vice-president of PML-N, appeared before the court and was allowed to leave after marking his attendance.
During the hearing, the co-accused in the reference requested the dismissal of the reference under the Amended NAB ordinance.
Barrister Zafarullah, who was representing a co-accused in the reference, maintained that the Amendment NAB Ordinance has been promulgated, therefore, he will file a petition seeking acquittal on his client’s behalf.
He contended that the non-public officeholders have also been excluded from the amended ordinance after which the case will be dealt with by the tax tribunal if it includes an issue related to the tax.
Meanwhile, a private airline’s Chief Executive Officer Chaudhry Aslam, under the status of a “private person”, pleaded before the court for the removal of his name from the reference.
At this, the NAB prosecutor argued that the exemption of cabinet affairs under the NAB Ordinance are applicable from October 6.
The court issued notice to NAB seeking a detailed reply and adjourned the hearing till October 26.