Thursday December 02, 2021

Govt must resign by Jan 31 or face long march: PDM

December 15, 2020

Govt must resign by Jan 31 or face long march: PDM

LAHORE: Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Fazlur Rehman Monday said their lawmakers would hand over resignations to their respective party leaderships from the national and provincial assemblies on December 31.

The development came a day after the PDM held a rally in Lahore. "Today, we want to make it clear that the government should resign till January 31. If it does not, the [PDM leadership] will announce a long march on February 1," Fazl said while addressing a press conference here along with PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. However, Fazl said the final date for the long march, despite the February 1 announcement, would be finalized later on. He appealed to the people to start preparing for the long march.

Fazl said following Sunday’s public rally, the 11-party alliance had signed a joint statement. "The schedules issued to the provinces by the steering committee will remain intact," he said. Furthermore, the PDM chief said the movement leaders and the steering committee members would hold meetings with the party leaders of their respective provinces. "History will remember Lahore's jalsa, just like it remembers the one held at the same place in 1940," he said.

Responding to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement of not giving an NRO to the opposition, Fazl said, "He is making such statements, as he is under pressure." Fazl said the leaders had signed an agreement similar to the Charter of Democracy (CoD) signed by PML-N Rahber Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto on May 14, 2006 in London.

Speaking on the occasion, Maryam said some"media houses are spreading false reports" and that she had appreciated her party leaders for their work that had led to a "successful" Lahore jalsa.

Claiming that she was disappointed with her party leadership for keeping the venue small, Maryam said people had to listen to the PDM leaders from outside the ground. "I have not seen such a jalsa in my life. Despite such cold weather, even chairs were not visible [...] People were standing and hearing the party leaders," she said.

"I have never seen such a jalsa where people had participated with such enthusiasm," Maryam said, adding, "Despite government's tactics [the audience was huge]." Maryam said the government, after getting reports from the law enforcement agencies, must be "bawling" over the attendance of Sunday's public rally.

Moreover, Bilawal Bhutto, responding to a question, said the 11 parties were on the same page and that the decision would be made through consultations. Bilawal reiterated that the time for talking was over and now it was PM Imran Khan's time to submit his resignation.

"The senior party leaders have their own opinions, but once the party makes a decision, they abide by it," Bilawal said. The top leadership of the PDM met at Jati Umra, Raiwind to decide what’s next for the opposition’s anti-government campaign. JUI-F chief Fazl chaired the meeting that started at around 2:00pm.

Meanwhile, according to a declaration -- Elan-e-Lahore -- that the 11-party alliance hassigned, the PDM has pledged to work together for guaranteeing political, economic, and social rights of the people.

"[The PDM wants to] create a Pakistan where the sanctity of the Constitution takes precedence, all administrative bodies of the state are subject to an elected administration and Parliament, which is the source of national policymaking," the agreement said.

The agreement aspired for an independent judiciary, freedom of expression for the media, accountability for all the elected bodies, and for the people to have the right to elect and dismiss their representatives.

The agreement reiterated the opposition's statement that the people — especially the poor and youth — were facing the "worst inflation" due to the incumbent government and its "facilitators".

Shedding light on the solution to take Pakistan out of the "crisis", the agreement said that it was imperative to get rid of the "hybrid and selected system". "This system should be abolished immediately and a truly representative government should be established in the country through free, fair, and transparent elections," it said.