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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Tuesday stepped up exerting pressure on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government by reiterating to move ahead with its plan to hold the “anti-inflation” march to Islamabad on March 23, on the occasion of Pakistan Day despite, the government’s request to defer its plans.

This was decided in the PDM’s meeting of the heads of the component parties, chaired by its president Maulana Fazlur Rehman, in which, the alliance of the opposition parties also vowed to strongly resist any move to change the parliamentary system of government with presidential form of government, besides making every effort to block the State Bank of Pakistan amendment bill in the parliament.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Maulana said that the meeting unanimously decided that the anti-inflation march will be held on March 23, rejecting the government’s request to defer the rally due to holding of the National Day parade and the forthcoming meeting of OIC’s council of foreign ministers in Islamabad.

He said that the sub committees have been instructed to make all the preparations for holding a “successful” march, adding that people from across the country will reach Islamabad on March 23. “This march will prove to be the final nail in the coffin of the rulers,” he maintained.

To a question whether the PDM would enter Islamabad on March 23 as security arrangements would be tight due to Pakistan Day parade as well as the OIC’s CFM meeting, he said that the PDM will enter into the federal capital.

“They [the rulers] knew that we have given the call for holding the long march on that date. Under what conspiracy did they make such recommendations?” he asked, adding that as far as the military parade is concerned, it would begin early morning and wrap up by Zuhr prayers. “We will come after Zuhr prayers and I don’t see there would be any confrontation,” he added.

About the option of a no-confidence motion against the prime minister, he said that it is part of the parliamentary politics. However, he added that it needs a comprehensive preparation. “Unless, all the parliamentary parties come on one-page, we cannot say anything final on this,” he added.

About the similar call given by the PPP of a long march, Maulana said that after the PDM had already announced such a protest, there was no need of another such rally. However, he added that the PDM does not want to open another front within the opposition and it would welcome all the political forces and civil society to join its protest rally.

About the State Bank of Pakistan amendment bill, he said that the bill which is laying before the parliament is aimed at bringing the central bank in the “slavery” of the international financial institutions which is tantamount to ending Pakistan’s independence.

“It is also equal to Pakistan once again becoming a colony instead of an independent State. We will never allow any ruler to compromise our independence at any cost,” he vowed.

He said that due to the skyrocketing, inflation the country has been pushed into such a quagmire from where there seems no possibility to come out from anytime soon. “A person, who is unable to fulfill his responsibility with regard to budget of a common man, such a ruler has no right to remain in power anymore,” he said.

Referring to the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index report, he said that every politician was dubbed as a “thief” “while Transparency International has shown him the mirror of his artificial honesty.”

He said that Pakistan has been ranked 140 in the corruption index from 117. “It has been proved as the history’s most failed, incompetent and corrupt government, and instead, it is still trying make a plan for rigging the next general elections through machines – electronic voting machines (EVMs),” he said, adding that ‘the nation is alive they would be ousted from the power corridors.’

He alleged that Imran Khan has been proved “guilty” in the foreign funding case by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), adding that around 22 accounts have been kept in hiding.

“If a person can be disqualified and thrown out of the government for not declaring drawing a salary, while here 22 accounts have not been declared and despite that he is still being protected. Is it based on justice?” he asked while referring to the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif in Panama Papers case.

He said that the PDM demands that the ECP should hear the foreign funding cases on a daily basis and disqualify Imran Khan by banning his PTI.

“This entire party is a corrupt and its formation was also based on ‘illegal’ funding. If a party not by its own standing, but came into being with the support of some other powers, cannot be called party of the people,” he maintained.

He said that the PDM has already rejected the EVMs, adding that this machine failed in the rest of the world, while it is being imposed on the country. “We will not recognise any such election to be conducted through the EVMs, as it’s another name of the RTS system,” he added.

Referring to the rumours of a presidential system, he said that the presidential system has always been another name of dictatorship in Pakistan ‘whether it was by General Ayub Khan, Iskander Mirza, General Zia-ul-Haq or it was in the shape of General Musharraf.’

Describing the debate as a conspiracy, he said that ending the parliamentary system of government, in fact, is abrogation of the Constitution.

“We will not allow this ‘impious’ desire to be fulfilled. We have always struggled for the protection of the Constitution and we would continue to do so. Presidential form of government has a dark history in Pakistan, which is in no way acceptable to us,” he vowed, adding that the country was also disintegrated in 1971 due to the presidential system.

He said that the PDM had rejected the recently passed Finance (Supplementary) Bill, and called for it to be withdrawn.

Referring to Murree tragedy in which 22 people died after their cars were stranded in a snowstorm, he said that Punjab government has taken action against the low-ranking officials, while the prime minister and the chief minister should have resigned following this negligence.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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