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PDM begins action to oust govt: Won’t give NRO to govt, says opposition

PDM begins action to oust govt: Won’t give NRO to govt, says opposition

GUJRANWALA/LAHORE: Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) President Maulana Fazlur Rehman said on Friday that politicians had no quarrel with institutions, just wanted them to act within ambit of the Constitution. “We want to see Pakistan functioning as a sovereign independent country,” he said while addressing the PDM’s first public meeting held here on Friday.

Fazl, also the chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), said people would have to come out of their homes to get their rights. He criticised the government for making geographical changes in the region “under the US agenda”. He said the PDM’s movement against fake rulers had been launched with this public meeting; it would go to all cities and would not rest until the fake rulers fled. He said the rulers were losing their courage and only 15 opposition members made the PM flee from the parliament.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the economy was passing through the worst period in the country’s history and growth was negative for the first time after the country was created. Even when Bangladesh was separated, we did not see such a crisis. “Is this the change that you are facing i.e. historic price-hike, historic poverty, historic unemployment. Is this the change that eggs are selling for Rs200 per dozen, potato Rs120, tomato Rs200, onions Rs80 per kilogram?” Crises of gas, power, medicines, food, atta, sugar and petrol are afflicting the country, he added.

PDM begins action to oust govt: Won’t give NRO to govt, says opposition

Bilawal said the PPP government had reduced the prices and facilitated the businessmen and industrialists. He said the PPP government had increased pension by 150 per cent and salaries by 100 per cent. For the army men, the PPP government raised salaries by 175 per cent. It was the people’s solution for price-hike, terrorism and hardships. And what is Imran’s solution. Tiger Force for everything, like price hike, COVID-19, terrorism, etc. He said Imran promised 10 million jobs, but the whole country had become unemployed. He promised to give houses, but there was no house for any poor. He regretted that only the opposition leaders were being questioned and charged but Imran’s sisters, and his close associate Tareen were not caught and given an NRO. This year Punjab got Rs500 billion less from its federal share. He said with that money, several projects could be made in Gujranwala. This was your money and we will take it back from the selected government for you, he added.

Bilawal said the ‘selected’ had ruined the foreign policy. He said foreign minister damaged relations with Saudi Arabia, adding foreign policy could not be improved by becoming the driver of a prince. The PPP chief said what kind of democracy it was where the press was gagged, parliament ruined, judicial system had collapsed due to pressure. It is a slap in the face of judicial system, he added. Imran said he was democracy but in reality he was a puppet.

Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif said time has arrived that people of Pakistan should stand up against the theft of their vote. Speaking at the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rally in Gujranwala through video-link from London, he said that during the past two years, the prices of essential commodities, especially flour, sugar, vegetables and fruits, had skyrocketed because their vote was stolen and a selected governmentwas brought to power. He said he heard that the cost of medical treatment, such as dialysis, had reached out of the range of a poor man. He said in his government, free dialysis facility was available to the poor, but now the government was minting money through the treatment.

He said the prices of electricity and gas had increased. A poor man could not pay school fee of his children. He said the prices of medicines had also increased manifold because an elected prime minister was thrown out in the near past. He said the Panama Papers case was made only to throw out an elected government. He said the nation salutes the jawans of Pakistan Army who are fighting on borders and performing their duties as per the Constitution of Pakistan.

Addressing the jalsa, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said the governments should come to power and go home only through the power of vote. And, except for masses, no one should hold the rulers accountable. Addressing the PDM’s first power show in Gujranwala, she said that the corrupt governments like that of Imran Khan come to power when the votes are stolen. Starting her speech in Punjabi language, Maryam said she had not brought the petition of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif nor that of the opposition or the PML-N in front of them, rather she had brought the petition of the common people who were being hit hard by the worst-ever inflation, hunger and worst-ever economic condition. “This (poor situation) happens when people’s votes are stolen,” she added.

Maryam said the incumbent government was a true mafia as it first created shortage in the market and then brought the same with high prices. She said when people’s power (of vote) was not honoured, they had to face situations like the current inflation. She said Imran Khan used to say that if only five people would protest and demand his resignation, he would go home. She asked people: “Will you give an NRO to Imran Khan?” to which people replied “No.”

Maryam also criticised the government for media censorship, saying those raising people’s voice were being put behind the bars, while others were being threatened and media was being chained. She added this was because nobody was talking about Imran Khan’s corruption. Referring to Imran Khan’s statement, she said: “You (Imran Khan) say all institutions are on the same page with the incumbent government. Remember it doesn’t take time to turn a page.”

Earlier, leaders of major opposition parties reached Gujranwala late Friday night, while leading big caravans from Lahore, Lalamusa and other cities. Enthralled by the enthusiasm and passion of the political activists at the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) jalsa venue, they said they had launched a movement from Gujranwala for people’s rights and restoration of true democracy. Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz reached the Jinnah Stadium Gujranwala from Lahore, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari arrived from Lalamusa and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, also president of the PDM, led his caravan from Lahore to Gujranwala.

Maryam Nawaz, terming the opposition parties’ jalsa the beginning of the end of ‘puppet prime minister’ Imran Khan’s government, said she was pursuing her father Nawaz Sharif’s mission as a foot soldier. While leaving Lahore, she warned police and the district administration against arresting and threatening her party workers. She invited them to join the protest as it “was being held for the rights of all Pakistanis”.

Maryam Nawaz left Jati Umra at 2:15pm along with her husband Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar and other party leaders. Before leaving from her residence, she tweeted: “I embark on this mission as your foot soldier, Nawaz Sharif. I have dedicated myself to your struggle, your mission for Pakistan and its people.” She also said, “Shahbaz Sharif and Hamza, my brother, sent their personal security and cars for me”. She told the party workers the PML-N and the PDM had launched the fight for rights of the public. She said the final victory would be of the people of Pakistan.

Senior PML-N leader Muhammad Zubair also addressed the rally participants. The caravan took the Ring Road to reach Babu Sabu Interchange.

Khwaja Imran, Bilal Yasin, Ghazali Butt, Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Riaz Malik, Samiullah and others welcomed Maryam at Shahdara Mor. Bilal Yasin led a rally on Bund Road.

Meanwhile, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Friday said the facilitators who brought Imran Khan to power would have to realise that he was not worth it. Addressing a press conference before leaving Lalamusa for Gujranwala, the PPP leader said: “After today’s public gathering in Gujranwala, Prime Minister Imran Khan and his facilitators would also come to this realisation.” He said the people of Pakistan would decide the fate of the “puppet PM” as the PDM was on the streets with the people’s narrative. “Today Gujranwala will prove that the people of Pakistan have rejected the selected government and they want real democracy in the country,” he said, adding that PM Imran Khan had panicked as all political parties were on one page.

Bilawal said the people who didn’t let democracy continue should listen carefully that Pakistan would become democratic at all costs. He said it was unfortunate that the tactics of a fascist government were apparent on the ground. “Houses of PPP workers are being raided by the police; workers are being arrested and cases are being lodged against them,” he added. He said the selected prime minister had offered help to the opposition for holding public rallies, but now he had resorted to high handedness against political workers. He said the PM should know that he could not initiate a case against hunger. “He (PM) cannot arrest unemployment and he cannot continue as a puppet and selected prime minister,” the PPP leader added.

“We do not want that a selected and puppet government is imposed on the people of Pakistan in the name of democracy. We do not consider this government to be a democratic government,” he said.

To a question, Bilawal said today’s session of the Parliament had been made a joke. PM Imran Khan was a coward who speaks in the National Assembly only when the opposition benches are empty, he said, adding that Imran Khan had not followed a single democratic norm. Today’s assembly session was held to provide PM Imran Khan to deliver a speech to the empty house, he added. To another question, the PPP leader said every institution should work within its domain. “Our demands have been presented by the APC in the shape of a unanimous resolution,” he said.

Responding to a question, he said the Punjab Police had turned into the “Tiger Force” of PM Imran Khan and is taking down the PDM’s banners all over the province. PPP Central Punjab president Qamar Zaman Kaira, PPP Chairman’s spokesperson Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, PPP Gujrat president Zia Mohyuddin and others were also present.

Later, a big caravan of PPP workers led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari reached Gujranwala to attend the PDM public meeting.

Separately, different caravans of the PPP activists, led by their local leaders, including PPP Lahore President Haji Azizur Rehman Chan, Israr Butt, Asif Nagra and Secretary Information Abid Siddiqi, left Lahore for Gujranwala on Friday to attend the PDM jalsa.

Chan and party stalwart Faisal Mir also addressed the public at the GT Road section between Lahore and Gujranwala.

Separately, PDM and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said it was Prime Minister Imran Khan, not the opposition parties, who was seeking an NRO, but he won’t get it. He was talking to the media before taking out a large motorcade from the Jamia Ashrafia on Friday evening to join the PDM’s public meeting in Gujranwala. He led the Friday prayers and gave the Friday sermon to a packed mosque.

Addressing the media before departure, Fazl said the PDM’s movement was aimed at allowing the masses to elect their true representatives who could provide relief to them by solving their problems. “The present parliament is not the true representative of the masses as it is a product of rigging and brought to serve the interests of global establishment. Over the last two years, the parliament has not made any legislation to ensure genuine rights to the masses and provide them with basic necessities of life which had been denied to them for over seven decades,” he said, adding that “the only legislation this parliament has made so far is to only carry out global establishment’s orders under the cover of the FATF.”

He said the PDM’s powerful movement against the selected government would begin from Gujranwala public meeting and it seems the PTI government would not last beyond December. To a question, he said the sit-in by Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri was against a genuinely-elected parliament, while the PDM was protesting against a non-representative parliament.