CASES 325,480 736
DEATHS 6,702 10

KARACHI: Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) - an alliance of opposition political parties - staged a power show in the city as thousands of people attended the second showdown of the political alliance against incumbent PTI-led government held at Bagh-e-Jinnah adjacent to the Quaid's mausoleum on Sunday.

Ouster of prime minister Imran Khan, fresh general election in the country were the major demands that led the workers of the alliance to converge at Mazar-e-Quaid to back their leadership that includes Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Dr Malik Baloch, Akthar Mengal, Mahmood Khan Achakzai and others.

Hosted by the PPP, as it commemorates the 13th anniversary of the Karsaz blasts, top leadership of the all three major parties - Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz (PML-N), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) spoke to the gathering.

The two former prime ministers Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Yousuf Raza Gillani were also present in the meeting.

"Mook Gya Tere show Imran (your show is over) - Go Imran Go Imran" were the slogans raised from the podium which were well responded by the crowd.

Addressing the rally, Emir JUI-F and President PDM Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that people of Pakistan are devoted to their beloved Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and Ahle-Bait and they never bow down to tyranny. He also paid tribute to the slain workers of PPP who got killed in the Karsaz terror attack in October 2007.

Maulana said that opposition parties are being forced to accept the government which was brought in power through bogus elections.

He said PDM's prime objective is to restore genuine democracy in the country and we will not backtrack from this principled stance.

"We are not ready to accept this [PTI] puppet government," he said. "General Bajwa you are respectful for us..., distance yourself from the nonsense friends," he added.

He said incumbent incompetent government has destroyed the economy of Pakistan and brought the GDP of country from 5.6 percent to 0.1 percent.

Addressing a power quarters of the country, Maulana said, "You [establishment] have committed mistake by bringing this government into power and we will compel you to accept your mistake that you had picked a wrong guy."

On the PTI's pre-election pledges, Maulana went on to say that neither 10 million jobs nor 5 million houses are given to people, however, people are being rendered jobless and homeless by this government.

On Kashmir issue, he said that premier Imran Khan had sold Kashmiris to India and now shedding crocodile's tears. "Imran Khan has weakened Pakistan's stance on Indian held Kashmir before the international community," he added.

He said that the present government is trying to withdraw the special status of Gilgit-Baltistan that would be resisted by the political forces of Pakistan.

"You have filed treason charges against the prime minister of Azad Kashmir which is tantamount to please the enemies of Pakistan," Maulana maintained.

On the National Finance Commission (NFC) award, he said that NFC guaranteed the provincial autonomy under 18th constitutional amendment that would be protected by the opposition parties.

"If you try to occupy the islands of Sindh and Balochistan, the move will be deemed as an act against the federation of Pakistan," he added.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that PDM wanted a positive political change in the country for prosperity and stability. "Institutions have to work under their ambit and they should not operate beyond their limits," he said.

PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, while addressing the Jalsa, alleged that conspiracies are being hatched to separate Karachi from Sindh while accusing the federal government of depriving the masses of their basic rights.

"Attempts are being made to snatch the rights of the people of Sindh and Rs300 billion were not given to Sindh under NFC award," he said and warned the federal government against 'occupying' the islands near Karachi's shore.

The PPP chief also paid tribute to the martyrs of Karsaz incident on its 13th anniversary, saying "they sacrificed their lives to write a new chapter in the country's history".

Bilawal said his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and mother Benzair sacrificed their lives to strengthen the democracy in the country. "We have to fight a war for the supremacy of law, democracy and Constitution."

The PPP stalwart said the opposition's struggle is not for power but to ensure the rights of the masses through a real democratic system.

"All those doors are being closed through which rights of the masses can be ensured," he alleged.

He said in the absence of democracy, the decisions are being made to protect the interest of few people.

Bilawal claimed that 'selected' prime minister Imran Khan was unaware of the issues being faced by masses including historic inflation and rising poverty.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz thanked the PPP leadership for giving her historic welcome in the capital of Sindh, saying, "I did not find any difference between the streets of Lahore and Karachi."

PM Imran has panicked after the opposition's first PDM rally which was clearly visible on his face, said Maryam, advising him to learn how to react during difficult times from former PM Nawaz Sharif. "When he [Imran Khan] staged a sit in Islamabad, Nawaz Sharif did not panic for once and dealt with him comfortably."

She also said that PDM's struggle was not against the PM Imran-led government. "You have nothing to do in the fight of elders," she stated.

Responding to allegations that her father Nawaz is speaking Indian Prime Minister's Narendra Modi's language, Maryam said: "You [PM Imran] prayed for the success of Modi [in elections], passed an ordinance to help Kulbhushan [Indian spy] and compromised the issue of Kashmir."

She asked PM Imran to stop dragging army into 'dirty politics' and stop being a spokesperson of the military.

The PML-N vice-president then went on to address the controversy surrounding Nawaz's speeches in which he has accused the security establishment of orchestrating the ouster of his government. "They are flustered by Nawaz's speech, which by the way was banned from TV," she said. "When you didn't allow his speech to be aired, you have no right to comment on it. When it was not aired, where did you watch it?" she asked.

Justifying the points raised by Nawaz, Maryam questioned why it was wrong for the PML-N supremo to say that Justice Shaukat Aziz and Justice Qazi Faez Isa should not be punished for following the law.

"You say we will ban PML-N. Don't even think about it," she warned. "This is PML-N, the biggest party of Pakistan. This isn't PTI that can be banned by some General Pasha or PML-Q that was created by Musharraf," she said.

"If you ban PML-N, you will have to ban Pakistan's masses as well. It is not just a party, it is the identity of millions of people."?

The PML-N stalwart said her party salutes the Pakistan Army and those officers and soldiers who act within their Constitutional limits.

Balochistan National Party (BNP) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal, who quit the ruling coalition earlier this year, said the example of so called democratic system prevailing in Pakistan was nowhere to be found in the world.

He said under this democracy, elected prime ministers of Pakistan were sentenced to death or banished from the country.

Mengal alleged that efforts are being made to occupy the islands of Sindh and Balochistan, saying, "no one would be allowed to invade our resources."

PKMAP chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai said PDM is not formed for mudslinging and to humiliate other political leaders but its struggle is for the rule of the masses.

Recalling the assassination of late PPP leader Benazir Bhutto and other similar incidents, Achakzai lamented that the perpetrators of terror attacks had not been taken to task up till now.

Paying tribute to people who lost their lives in terror attacks in the country, leader of Awami National Party (ANP) Amir Haider Khan Hoti said PDM is against 'selected government' and it will be accomplished by the support of the people of Pakistan.

He said no one had approached him for NRO and added that the entire PTI would need a NRO when a decision of foreign funding case against the ruling party would be pronounced.

Hoti named the premier Imran Khan as 'Imran selected Khan'. "Where are the pledges of Imran Khan 10 million jobs, 5 million houses?" Hoti recalled the election slogans of PTI.

Former Balochistan chief minister and leader of National Party, Abdul Malik Baloch called upon the government to resolve the matters of the restive region through dialogue with the armed groups.

Dr Malik said that a certain powerful group has made the parliament a rubber stamp. He said that several military operations had been carried out in Balochistan province and thousands of innocent Baloch people have been killed. He also lambasted the enforced disappearances of Baloch youngsters. He called for a peace agreement with the Baloch people. He urged the PTI-led government to immediately withdraw the ordinance related to Bundal Island near Karachi's shore.

Leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) Shah Owais Noorani paid a rich tribute to assassinated leader of PPP Benazir Bhutto Shaheed and said the former prime minister had laid down her life for the people of Pakistan. "The powerful quarters must be feeling ashamed of themselves who brought Imran Khan into power," he said, adding that the new year will be an election year and workers of PDM should prepare themselves for the 'upcoming' elections.

Leader of Jamiat Ahle -Hadith (JaH) Professor Sajid Mir paid homage to people who were killed in the Karsaz terror attack. He said PDM is working for the restoration of true democracy in the country. "PDM is against theft of sugar, wheat flour and corrupt people and those involved in scams would be brought before justice,' he added.

He termed Prime Minister Imran Khan as "selected". He said price hikes and inflation has hit the masses hard and prompted them to come out against oppressive policies of the government.

Leader of Pakhtoon Tahfuz Movement (PTM) Mohsin Dawar spoke on the 'atrocities' being committed by the government, accusing the 'security establishment' of being involved in the killing of PTM leadership. He demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan to formulate the truth-finding commission to investigate allegations levelled by PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif at Gujranwala rally.

"Leaders of PTI Jhangir Khan Tareen and Khusro Bakhtiar are the big thieves", he added

Leader of the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) congratulated the PDM for holding a public meeting against the 'oppressive' policies of the government. He said that the present government has brought inflation in the country as the prices of wheat flour and sugar are skyrocketing. He said that Imran Khan's government should not be allowed to rule in the country.

"PTI government is unconstitutional and new elections should not be announced in the country to overcome the economic crises", he demanded.

He said that powerful quarters should not be kept outside from the election process and only police should be allowed to help in managing the free and fair elections in the country.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020