Saturday January 22, 2022

Political temperature rising

November 14, 2021

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: The political temperature across the country has started to rise with the opposition holding rallies, hitting hard against the government, while the latter fires it own salvo of broadsides against the opposition leadership.

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Chief and Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that Pakistan’s survival would remain under threat if the rulers of the incumbent government ‘are not drowned in the Arabian Sea.’ Rehman expressed these views while addressing PDM rally held at Karachi’s Regal Chowk on Saturday while launching its new phase of country-wide protests against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led federal government for inflicting historic inflation, and for crafting policies and actions that have unleashed wide scale suffering.

The alliance leaders, including Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Mehmood Khan Achakzai addressed the rally. Fazl said that the movement will end only after sending Prime Minister Imran Khan packing and declared the ‘theft’ of 2018 elections as the main reason behind the inflation. He said Pakistan’s survival would remain under threat if the incumbent government ‘is not drowned in the Arabian Sea.’ The PDM chief said PTI government has “inflicted turmoil in the country by sending the people into deep misery’ and added that such leadership has no right to rule. He said that due to inflation and price hike, people have started to sell children. “People have put up sale boards for selling children in front of Parliament Lodges,” he said. “The labourers, shopkeepers, and professionals are all losing hope,” he added and warned “revolutions follow economic crisis.”

A large number of workers from the PDM’s component parties, mainly the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Jamiat-e-Ulema Pakistan, attended the rally. Addressing the rally, PDM Chairman and JUI-F supremo Maulana Fazlur Rehman said after a successful show in Karachi, the PDM will ramp up its anti-government protests across the country to save the nation from the illegitimate and incompetent rulers. The next rally will be held in Quetta on November 17 and that of Peshawar on November 20, he announced. “This journey has started from Karachi, and will continue by marching to Lahore, and from there, we will march on to Islamabad,” he said.

Describing the government as lacking people’s mandate,the JUI-F chief said only a government that comes through genuine votes can steer the country out of the current economic crisis. “Current rulers created a fictitious world to play with the emotions of the masses. It is still not clear who is, in fact, running the country’s affairs,” said the PDM chief. He said “the PDM wants the institutions to try and comprehend the evolving ground situation, repent their mistakes and review their role.”

PML-N leader and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the country has been isolated no one in the entire world listens to Pakistan anymore. “The only solution to drive the country out of difficult times is to hold new elections as the incumbent government came to power by stealing the people’s mandate,” he said. Abbasi said the PTI government has unleashed unprecedented misery and suffering on the people.

The “PDM speaks of supremacy of the Constitution and wants its institutions to act within their constitutional ambit” The PML-N leader said that the people are being pushed into the grinding mill of inflation. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan says inflation has increased all over the world but he should know that the people do not live in London where conditions are starkly different from those in Pakistan. “The prime minister should explain why flour of Rs30 is being sold at Rs80 per kg today,” he said. “People are worried about inflation and unemployment. The only solution to all the problems is immediate and transparent elections.”

PkMAP’s Chairman Achakzai said that the PDM did not come into being to call the government names but for the supremacy of the Constitution. “The PDM was not formed because Maulana Rehman was sitting idle, we love our motherland, respect our Constitution and struggle for the survival of the country.”

The National Party chief and former Balochistan chief minister Abdul Malik Baloch said that there is civilian martial law in the country. “Karachi has always struggled against oppressors and martial laws which has led to an attempt to reduce its importance in national politics,” he said. “We demand that the country be run according to the Constitution.” Baloch said that the tradition of rigging in elections should be abandoned now. “If the rigging is not done away with, the real leadership elected by the people will never come to govern.”

JUI-F’s Secretary General Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, JUP Chief Shah Owais Noorani, PML-N’s Shah Muhammad Shah and other leaders also spoke to the gathering.

Meanwhile, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) would complete its constitutional term and expressed the confidence that it will also return for the next tenure.

Talking to the media, the minister said that opposition parties were disappointed with their confusion and disarray as against their wishes, the government was successfully running the state affairs. He said that the government had already completed its three and half years and will sail through the remaining period easily.

Sheikh Rashid said, “The opposition has been saying for the last one year that PTI would lose power, but nothing happened and now it should clear itself of any misunderstandings about the government. Prime Minister Imran Khan is so lucky to have such an incompetent and ineffective opposition.”

He said the opposition had no vision to understand the prevailing situation and they have once again selected a wrong time for holding rallies and protests. “They have already lost their time and will waste more in warm-up to gearing for action. They will achieve nothing apart from wasted effort.

The Islamabad Police will not take any action against peaceful protests.” He fully endorsed the idea of using electronic voting machines (EVMs) as the prime minister says it will address the issue of mistrust over the electoral system, he added.

He said that the agreement with Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan will be made public soon. “I was part of the first round of talks on the wishes of Saad Rizvi.” He said the government had revoked the TLP’s proscribed status on the recommendations of the government of Punjab. The interior minister said the issue of inflation was reflective of the global economic situation and no one more than the government wants to bring it under control to improve the plight of the common man.

Meanwhile, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUIF) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman made a telephonic contact with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and discussed with him the opposition’s protest movement and long march against the Imran-led government, and his meeting with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto sources told The News.

“Maulana Fazlur Rehman informed Nawaz Sharif about the suggestions of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to get rid of the government. Both of them also discussed the issue of inclusion of PPP in the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM),” sources said. The Maulana told Nawaz that Bilawal wanted to move a no-confidence motion against the Buzdar-led government that, according to him, would help precipitate change in Centre.

“Both Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazlur Rehman were convinced that fresh general elections should be held in the country as the government was installed through political engineering and rigged elections,” sources added. Sources said Nawaz personally rejected the proposal of in-house change in Punjab in the past, because he believed his party should not become part of the power politics that was ‘controlled’ by the powerful establishment.

They said the PMLN thinks that the National and provincial assemblies should complete their constitutional term and the opposition parties should bring in-house change both in Punjab and Centre. The PMLN chief was of the view that if the PPP is confident that from now onwards the establishment would stay neutral, then they (PPP) must test waters by filing e no-confidence motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.

The PPP on the other hand has conveyed to Maulana Fazlur Rehman that the opposition parties can discuss no-confidence motions against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Prime Minister Imran Khan, sources added.

Sources said the Maulana also told Nawaz Sharif that the PMLN could take decision about the date of PDM’s public meeting in Lahore. “The JUIF chief also proposed that a long march against the government should be initiated from the public meeting in Lahore,” added the sources. According to sources, the Maulana and the PMLN supremo also discussed the issue of inclusion of PPP in the PDM, and agreed that all opposition parties should become part of the long march to make it a big success. The PMLN sources said Nawaz Sharif was quite satisfied with the role of the joint opposition that forced the federal government to postpone the joint session of the parliament, adding “Nawaz Sharif has counselled opposition’s maximum pressure on the government both in and outside the parliament.” They said Nawaz Sharif told the Maulana that the PDM should discuss the long march and his party would fully support, whatever decision is taken by the PDM.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is a bunch of politically irrelevant leaders with a unanimous and primary objective to deceive the masses.

Commenting on the speech of Maulana Fazlur Rehman in PDM rally, the federal minister for information said these political opportunists have become insolvent after miserable failure of their A, B and C plans to topple the government.

They can do nothing beyond statements. He recalled that PDM had issued similar ‘fiery’ statements about the fate of the government before their sit-in on Nov 13, 2019 that ended in a disastrous failure.

Despite repeated setbacks and failures, he said the PDM was hell bent to hamper the country’s development and prosperity. However the opposition would never succeed in their designs.

He said that PDM and Maulana Fazlur Rehman have lost their senses and are in a disarray after successive failures. Like the past, the people would no longer pay any heed to Fazl and his partners.

He dared the Maulana to try his luck of holding protest demonstrations against the government in winter also.

He said the PDM has been rendered totally rudderless and clueless by Prime Minister Imran Khan who exposed the true nature of the corrupt gang. The minister said whether it’s a long march, a short march or a quick march, the government is least bothered about them.