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PDM demands elections next year

The heads of the opposition alliance met here on Tuesday with PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the chair.

November 24, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The top leadership of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has demanded that the general elections be held next year.

The heads of the opposition alliance met here on Tuesday with PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the chair. It was decided to delay the final decision on the long march and other actions to oust the PTI-led government till the PDM leadership meets again here on December 6.

In the meeting, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman stressed on deciding a date for a long march towards Islamabad, saying that no more time should be wasted. However, the leadership decided to come up with proposals in this regard at the next meeting in Islamabad.

Fazlur Rehman, who is also the JUIF chief, reiterated his proposal of tendering resignations from the national and provincial assemblies while Nawaz Sharif, who like the PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Ishaq Dar, attended the meeting via video link, said he would back any decision to be taken in this regard.

Briefing newsmen after chairing the meeting, Fazlur Rehman said the PDM leadership would meet again on December 6 after consulting their respective parties to move forward against the government with a strategy.

“We want to move forward towards an effective strategy after consultation," the PDM chief said. He told a questioner that the PDM leaders would take effective decisions and move towards a final decision, which would not be confined to just media talks.

The PDM leaders also unanimously called for a transparent inquiry into ChiefJustice (retired) Saqib Nisar's alleged audio clip. They observed that the alleged audio clip of Justice Saqib Nisar and former Gilgit-Baltistan chief justice Rana Shamim’s affidavit have raised questions over the freedom and independence of judiciary.

“The evidences are coming from with-in. The alleged audio leak of Saqib Nisar and affidavit from Rana Shamim have raised questions over the freedom of judiciary," the PDM chief said. He said Tuesday’s meeting decided that no compromise would be made on Saqib Nisar’s alleged audio clip and a national narrative would be built on the issue.

Fazlur Rehman said the opposition parties respected the courts but noted with pain that the judiciary would have to restore its trust on the basis of its character. He said conspiracies were hatched against prime ministers and other politicians in the past. “It was not a conspiracy just against Nawaz Sharif but also against Pakistan and democracy," he said.

The PDM chief said they would also talk to Supreme Court Bar Association President Ahsan Bhoon on the issue. According to sources, Nawaz Sharif expressed his anger over the audio leak, saying that now there was no doubt that his ouster as prime minister was nothing but a conspiracy.

Fazlur Rehman said the meeting felt that the passage of 35 bills in a matter of few hours was a mockery of the Constitution, adding that the PDM would challenge the laws relating to the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and other bills in the Supreme Court.

"It was bogus legislation on November 17 and the PDM leaders categorically rejected the same," he said. On the electoral reforms, the PDM chief said such legislation tantamount to restricting freedom of the Election Commission of Pakistan and pre-poll rigging for the next general elections.

“It is an attack on the ECP and restricting powers of the election commission directly clashes with the Constitution," he said. On giving right of franchise to overseas Pakistanis, Fazlur Rehman said the government played a trick with them. He said the overseas Pakistanis were assets of the country and said the PDM would play its constitutional role to give them representation in the Parliament.

He said the government through another legislation wanted to give autonomy to the State Bank of Pakistan to make it a branch of the IMF. Fazlur Rehman also came hard on the government for its economic policies and observed that the rulers defrauded the masses while making promises of 10 million jobs.

"Instead, lacs of people have been rendered jobless and five million rendered homeless in the name of operations against encroachments," he said. To a question, he said there would be no end to price hike and inflation and for that the PTI-led government would have to be ousted.

Others who were present in the meeting included Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Mariyyum Aurengzeb, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor, Akram Durrani, Aftab Khan Sherpao, Dr Abdul Maalik and Awais Noorani.