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January 19, 2021

'Today we demand a decision from ECP'

Top Story

January 19, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) President Maulana Fazlur Rehman Monday said the foreign funding case was the biggest scandal in the country’s history and Prime Minister Imran Khan was the main accused in the case.

Talking to the media after the PDM steering committee meeting here, he said crores of rupees were collected in the name of party funds and brought to Pakistan through illegal means. He alleged that the same money was used for creating political anarchy and rigging the elections. “The main accused in the case is no other than Imran Khan,” he added.

He said that Imran Khan took the ‘Mother of NRO’ and used the money through secret accounts for his personal business and creating political anarchy. “Once the confession was made, why the ECP [Election Commission of Pakistan] was delaying announcement of the decision in the case,” he said, adding it was high time to announce the decision and bring the nation out of confusion.

Calling upon the ECP to announce decision in the foreign funding case without any delay, he said the PDM leadership had decided to march towards its building at the Constitution Avenue here on Tuesday (today).

He said the opposition parties’ leaders would gather at the Kashmir Chowk near Convention Centre at 1pm on Tuesday to lead a protest rally towards the ECP building where the PTI foreign funding case was being heard. “We will hand over a memorandum containing our demands to the Election Commission,” he said.

“All evidence has been furnished to the ECP, and now there is no reason to delay announcement of the verdict,” Fazl, flanked by Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz and other leaders, said.

The PDM president said they were not going to raid an institution, and their action would be within the ambit of the Constitution and the law. “We talk about supremacy of the Constitution and restoration of real democracy,” he added.

Fazl said they would not allow the Election Commission to delay decision in the PTI foreign funding case or show partiality on the issue. He appealed to people to participate in the protest against anti-Pakistan funding, a decision which was pending for the last six years.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, however, did not attend the meeting. “He is not member of the steering committee and that is why he is not here,” Maryam Nawaz said when asked by a reporter.

Reminded that she is also not member of the steering committee, Maryam said she was especially invited for the meeting.

She told a questioner that the PDM leaders would sit together again to plan a future strategy if the government did not meet deadline of January 31 to quit. Fazlur Rehman said the PDM would announce a long march on Islamabad after February 27, following series of public meetings in different parts of the country.

The PDM steering committee decided to hold “Israel Na Manzoor’ [Israel Not Acceptable] rally in Karachi on Jan 21. It would follow observance of the Kashmir Day on February 5, and holding of a public meeting at Liaquat Bagh Rawalpindi the same day. “The PDM leaders and Kashmiri leadership would address the public meeting in Rawalpindi,” he said.

On Feb 9, a public meeting would be held in Hyderabad on February 9, in Sialkot on Feb 13, Chaman Feb 16, Sargodha Feb 23, while Khuzdar would host a public meeting on Feb 27.

Fazlur Rehman said the PDM was keeping its direction and all the decisions were being taken with consensus on basis of logic, saying that the reforms being demanded by the Movement were in accordance with the Constitution.

He said it would be better for the PDM that the opposition parties adopt a consensus action plan and joint strategy for the Senate elections.

Meanwhile, as Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had confirmed that he would not attend the protest rally of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to protest the delay in decision on foreign funding case against the ruling PTI, Secretary General PPP Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will lead the party in the PDM rally today (Tuesday).

Raja Pervez Ashraf, who is also Vice President of the PDM, Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Parliamentary leader of the PPP in the Senate Sherry Rehman, Secretary General PPP Parliamentarians Farhatullah Babar, President PPP Central Punjab Qamar Zaman Kaira, Secretary Information Faisal Karim Kundi along with other leaders of the PPP and senior party leaders will represent in the PDM rally in front of the ECP in the absence of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari has asked party members to participate in the PDM’s demonstration outside the ECP office building today (Tuesday).

The PPP workers will arrive at the demonstration site in rallies from all over Rawalpindi division. Bukhari said that PPP wants decision in foreign funding case against PTI according to the law. “We will demand an early decision in this case. If PTI did not receive the illegal funding then why the ministers are making hue and cry, he asked.

Moreover, Faisal Karim Kundi also said that the PTI had admitted receiving foreign funding so why there is a delay in this decision now. He said this is a case of interest of the people of Pakistan and delay of over six years in this case is injustice. “The PTI will be proved the most corrupt by the decision in this case, Kundi said.

Both the leaders asked PPP workers to follow COVID-19 SOPs, while participating in the demonstration. Meanwhile, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad said no seminary student or banned Ansarul Islam militia would be allowed to participate in the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) protest before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The ECP was a constitutional institution and the government would not let anyone to intimidate it, he said while addressing here a news conference. The minister warned the Ansarul Islam members of action if they were spotted in the protest donning uniforms with battons.

“We (the authorities) will keep a close eye on the protesters to ascertain if any Madrasa (seminary) student were brought by the PDM leadership.

The Ulema and religious scholars should better comply with the law and avoid using their students for politicking, which is even against the sanctity of their stature.

He said the Madaris (seminaries) were the torchbearers of Islam and they had great esteem for them. They should not be used for political gains. He said he chaired a meeting to take stock of the law and order situation, which might arise due to the PDM’s protest in the federal Capital on Tuesday.

The chief secretaries of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab also attended the meeting. He said neither the PDM had sought permission for the protest nor the government had allowed them to do so. It’s the first protest to be carried out in the Red Zone,” he added.

Sheikh Rasheed said he had a meeting with the prime minister to discuss the measures being taken regarding the PDM’s protest.

The PM had directed him to ensure that no seminary student was brought to the protest. He said the government was taking all precautionary measures and the PDM leadership would hopefully abide by the law.

No free hand had ever been given to anyone to hold protest in the Red Zone where all the important offices such as the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, Prime Minister Secretariat and Parliament House were situated, he added.

Sheikh Rasheed said it was PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who would have to ultimately bear the burden of the crisis as leaders of other PDM’s constituent parties would make their way out leaving him trapped in the quagmire to face the music.

He (Sheikh Rasheed) was the only person who would help him or otherwise the so-called PDM protest would become a noose for him, he added.

The PDM had lost its momentum as its all member parties were now contesting by-polls and Senate elections, backtracking from their decision of boycott.

It was he who had first presaged that the PDM would never boycott any elections and even Maulana Fazl, who had been cursing the existing Parliament, was also in the field. As regards the foreign funding cases, Sheikh Rasheed said Prime Minister Imran Khan had given the details of 40,000 overseas Pakistanis, who had donated funds to the PTI.

He, however, dared the leaders of both Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz to justify funds by only 4,000 expatriates. They had nothing to prove the legitimacy of funding from abroad.

The minister cautioned that Rawalpindi and Islamabad had been on high alert since December 15 and seven threat alerts were issued in the due course of time.

“I do not want to scare anyone but the threat risk prevails in the twin cities.” To a question, he said the government had made all the details related to Broadsheet report public as it was a bigger scandal than the Panama Papers.