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KARACHI: The 11-party opposition alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), organized its second public meeting in Karachi at Bagh-e-Jinnah near Mazar-e-Quaid on Sunday with the leaders of component parties declaring that their political movement would soon culminate in the ouster of the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, restoring genuine democracy and rule of masses in the country.
The public meeting continued past midnight as activists of Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, and of other component political parties of the PDM, filled the Bagh-e-Jinnah and remained there till the conclusion of the meeting.
The PPP hosted the public meeting basically to pay homage to the scores of its workers and supporters who had laid down their lives when two massive bomb blasts ripped through the homecoming rally of Benazir Bhutto at Karsaz on October 18, 2007.
The top leadership of the PDM’s component parties addressed the public meeting; one distinguishing feature was the address by Vice-President of PML-N Maryam Nawaz who for the first time attended such a political activity anywhere in Sindh. Unlike the maiden public meeting of the PDM in Gujranwala, former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was not given the opportunity to address the public meeting from London via video-link.
The leaders of the PDM’s component political parties in their speeches declared that the government of PM Imran had to be sent packing as it lacked the mandate to rule the country and for sheer bad governance, causing serious hardships to the countrymen due to the ruined state of the economy.
The PDM leaders said that Imran Khan was leading a puppet regime, which had been installed with a fake mandate, and it had to be dismissed to restore genuine democracy in the country where rulers were elected through votes of the people.
Addressing the rally, Chairman of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that they would not become afraid of threats of imprisonment by the incumbent puppet rulers of the country and in the past they had not been frightened by the Karsaz bomb blasts. He said that the alleged incompetent and ineligible PM had to be sent packing as during his regime, innocent citizens were being killed and incidents of enforced disappearances continued. He said that ailing citizens were unable to buy medicines due to sheer price-hike. He said that economy of the country had been ruined during the present government owing to the sheer inefficiency of the present rulers. He said the present rulers had assumed the power not because of votes of the people of the country but they had come to power at the direction of someone else. He said that the fight against the present undemocratic regime would continue on roads, parliament, and in prison. He said the movement of the PDM was aimed at restoring sovereignty of the people in the country in accordance with the Constitution. He claimed that their movement was being waged against the injustices to the people and sheer miseries, including price-hike, hunger, unemployment, homelessness they had to face.
The PPP chairman said that the government was not the kind of democracy for which Benazir Bhutto and martyrs of Karsaz tragedy had laid down their lives. The 'selected regime' and their selectors had to realize that governments come to power on the basis of real mandate of the people in accordance with the Constitution. He suggested that the Senate of Pakistan in its upcoming session should adopt a resolution to discard the newly-promulgated presidential ordinance to establish the Pakistan Islands Development Authority. He said that in no way they would let the rulers usurp the islands of Sindh off Karachi’s coast. He said that there had been widespread resentment among the people against the attempt of the federal government to occupy the islands of the province. The government had not come to the support of the victims of torrential monsoon rains, causing the situation of flood in several districts of the province to deteriorate. He said that out of Rs1,100 billion new development package for Karachi, the federal government had made no fresh allocation of funds.
Speaking on the occasion, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz said that the speech of PM Imran Khan the previous day had shown that he had been under immense pressure and became mentally upset just due to a single Jalsa of the PDM in Gujranwala. She recalled that PM Imran Khan in the previous regime had led a protest sit-in continuously for 126 days on the Constitution Avenue just outside the PM House and the-then PM Nawaz Sharif had remained fully calm without losing composure. She said that every word of the speech of Imran Khan and his body language had shown that he had become afraid and people wanted to see the same frightened Imran Khan. She said that Imran Khan’s latest speech had shown that he lacked training to conduct in a graceful manner while being under pressure. She said that all the speeches by Imran Khan were addressed to the opposition in the country as masses of the country were never been the subjects of his address. She chided PM Imran Khan for ridiculing her status as a maternal grandmother while saying she was the grandmother to not just one child but two children as that was the most beautiful relationship of her life. She said that Imran Khan while ridiculing her status as a maternal grandmother had offended all the women who had attained such a senior relationship in their families. She said that Imran Khan had no regard for all such prestigious relations as he didn’t recognize or believed in such family ties. She said that on the one hand, the electronic media had been banned from covering the speech of Nawaz Sharif via video-link but on the other hand, it seemed that Imran Khan had secretly listened to the former PM’s speech. She said that all the state institutions of the country, including NAB, FIA, SECP, had been under the occupation of the present government. The PML-N leader said that there was widespread unemployment in the country and medicines’ prices had become unbearable during the present government's tenure. She said that the government, instead of fulfilling its promises to build houses and give employment to the people, had rendered people jobless and they had also been deprived of their livelihood. No decision had been made in the foreign funding case of the PTI as obviously its judgment would go against Imran Khan.
She asked the rulers that for how long they would suppress the media and keep the Geo Television owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman imprisoned as very soon people would come to know about the corruption committed by the current government. She said that the PDM’s movement would continue till the time the supremacy of Constitution and law would be fully restored along with the independence of the media and judiciary.
Leader of Balochistan National Party (Mengal) Sardar Akhtar Mengal said that continued imprisonment of Geo TV's Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had shown that the media was not free and independent in the country. He said that fresh attempt to occupy the islands of Sindh and Balochistan had proved that the government was made up of usurpers who had been attempting to usurp the resources of the country. He said that families of the missing persons of Balochistan had been continuing with their protest drive during the present government's tenure. He said that gas and electricity had become expensive in the country but the lives of people of Balochistan had become too cheap and many of them mercilessly killed without any sin. He said that he was a supporter of such a democratic regime in the country, which would protect the lives, honour, and prestige of the people. He said that such a democratic order should be restored in the country where smaller nationalities of the Federation were given maximum autonomy as had been promised to them at the time of the creation of Pakistan. He said that this country had not been founded just for the welfare and development of cantonments and DHAs as people should become the ultimate beneficiaries of the state of Pakistan.
PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that the alliance of the opposition political parties would continue their struggle till complete restoration of complete democracy in the country. He said that corruption had become rife during the tenure of the present government while the rulers had come to power with the promise to end corruption from the country. He said that the concept of Pakistan would become fully complete when all the institutions would function within their assigned jurisdiction. He said that the country had been isolated due to failed foreign policy of the government as Pakistan had lost the trust of China as progress of CPEC had been impeded. He said that Iran and Saudi Arabia were also not happy with Pakistan. He said that economy of the country had been ruined to the extent that the currency of Afghanistan had been gaining strength as compared to the Pakistani rupee. He said that they would not accept the division of Sindh. He said that rights and privileges of Sindh and Balochistan as being the smaller provinces were being usurped. He said that they would protect the 18th Constitutional Amendment for safeguarding the concept of provincial autonomy. He said the present rulers lacked both aptitude or eligibility to rule the country. The government had done compromise on the Kashmir issue in total disregard to the sacrifices by the Kashmiri people.
Mahmood Khan Achakzai of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party said that people demanding autonomy for the provinces were being dubbed as traitors. He said that movement of the PDM was for the supremacy of the Constitution, the rule of law and provision of rights to people of the country. He said that Karachi was and would remain the capital city of Sindh. He said that the leadership of the PDM should make promises to bring to justice the murderers of the May 12, 2007 killings in Karachi. He said that the situation in the country had not worsened due to Imran Khan but due to his selectors.
MNA Mohsin Dawar of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should have ordered an inquiry into the allegations levelled by former PM Nawaz Sharif during his speech in the Jalsa of Gujranwala as these allegations were not made by any ordinary person but by the one who was thrice elected prime minister of the country. He said that a truth commission should be constituted in the country to probe all such incidents in the history of the country since the regime of Ayub Khan. He said that the same truth commission should probe the incident of murder of Benazir Bhutto while the same should inquire into the circumstances that allowed the terrorists to become once again active in the country. He claimed that several people of tribal area had been imprisoned without committing any crime as justice had been denied to them and they should get access to justice.