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Pakistan

PDM rejects electoral reforms, announces new round of anti-government protests

  • Fresh round of protests to start from July 4
  • Alliance chief, Maulana Fazl ur Rehman, wants ECP to formulate reforms after meeting all political parties
Published May 29, 2021
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The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) announced on Saturday to start a new round of anti-government rallies across Pakistan.

Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F) chief, Maulana Fazl ur Rehman, who also leads the PDM, made the announcement during a press conference in Islamabad. He was flanked by other PDM leaders, including Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif and Vice-President Maryam Nawaz.

“The PDM has devised a plan of protests across the country and, on July 4, a grand demonstration will be staged in Swat,” Maulana said.

The PDM also rejected the government’s proposal to hold the next elections through electronic voting machines (EVMs).

“The ECP [Election Commission of Pakistan], which is the poll supervisory body, should summon a meeting of all political parties and formulate a joint plan on election reforms,” he added.

Terming EVMs an attempt of pre-polling rigging, the JUI-F chief said that the anti-government coalition has also rejected the presidential ordinance issued on the matter.

"The PDM has demanded that the ECP, which is constitutionally responsible for conducting free and fair polls, should immediately call a session of all political parties to devise electoral reforms that can be presented in parliament."

PDM's leadership also condemned the recent attack on journalist Asad Toor and expressed solidarity with Pakistan's media community.

He urged the government to call a joint session of the parliament and brief the lawmakers about the Afghan peace process. Fazal also said that the government should issue clarifications on speculations that Pakistan is planning to offer the US military bases after the troop's withdrawal from Afghanistan.

To a question regarding the return of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Awami National Party (ANP) to the PDM, Fazl said the matter was not discussed in the meeting. Later, Maryam Nawaz said it was a non-issue.

The two parties had parted ways with the alliance in March after receiving a show-cause notice over disagreement on the appointment of the leader of opposition in the Senate.

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