Opp parties take to streets against ‘back-breaking’ inflation People chant slogans against govt, surging inflation

Staff Reporter

The opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement and the PPP on Friday staged separate anti-government demonstrations in different cities across the country to protest against inflation.

Addressing a protest gathering at Karachi’s Empress Market, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F general secretary Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said that protests against inflation and the current government were a “public referendum”.

The JUI-F stood in solidarity with the poor, farmers and lawyers, he said, adding that party chief and PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rahman had announced nationwide protests from October 20. “Protests against inflation will continue,” he vowed.

He alleged that the entire country had been left at the mercy of the International Monetary Fund. “Prime Minister Imran Khan used to say he would commit suicide before going to the IMF. He had promised 10 million jobs [but] 16,000 people were let go in Islamabad.”
He added that people were being evicted from their homes in Karachi in the name of encroachments.

While speaking at another protest in Lahore, PML-N’s Saad Rafique said the people of the country were facing “back-breaking” inflation, unemployment,and lawlessness while witnessing the degradation of state institutions.

“Why are people dying of hunger? Why are they committing suicide? Why are they cursing the government? This did not happen overnight,” he said, adding that this was the result of targeting “elected representatives”. He said that essentials had not just become expensive, they were “very expensive”.

The PML-N leader also predicted another wave of inflation in the country in the aftermath of recent talks with the International Monetary Fund.
He alleged that the premier did not fulfil promises made to the people and lied to them.

“You dupe them and make empty promises. You are not capable of anything, and you have destroyed [the country].” Videos shared by the PML-N’s Twitter account on Friday also showed similar protests in Shangla, Bahawalpur, and Kasur.

Meanwhile, the PPP staged a protest in Karachi’s Malir district against what city Administrator Murtaza Wahab called “increasing inflation perpetrated due to the incompetence of the PTI government”. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also participated in the protest. Addressing the rally, Shah said that party workers had come together to “show a mirror” to the PTI government.

He also lambasted the “selected” government for burdening the country’s citizens. He said that protests against inflation were being staged in different cities.

He said the PPP would come into power in the Centre and ease the burden of inflation on the people, adding that the protests were the voice of the poor, the labourers and the nation.

“I remember when Prime Minister Imran used to say when the dollar goes up in price, it is indicative that the rulers are thieves. Now tell me who the real thief is?” he questioned.

He said that Imran had spent his entire life abroad and didn’t have first-hand knowledge of poverty in Pakistan. “His vision for framing policies is very limited. If he continues to stay in power, it will destroy the country. Therefore, he should be ousted.”

Opposition parties took to the streets in various cities across the country to put pressure on the government amid surging inflation on Friday.

After the call to protest was given by the Opposition, protesters took to the streets in Karachi, Larkana, Lahore, Sukkur, Mardan, Jacobabad, Mohmand, Ziarat, Mingora and other cities of the country.

People shouted slogans against the government and rising inflation. Traffic at the Quetta-Chaman highway remained suspended for several hours due to the rally.

In Lahore, PML-N members staged a protest against inflation at the Jain Mandir Chowk while carrying utility bills and pieces of rotis (bread) in their hands

. Akin to that, party members in Muzaffargarh started a protest rally from Central Jamia Masjid to Qanwan Chowk. Members of the Jamaat-e-Islami also staged a protest in front of the Muzaffargarh Press Club during which they chanted slogans against inflation.

PML-N’s Qari Saifullah Saifi led the protest in Murree. When protesters reached the city’s Mall Road, many tourists also joined in.

In Mardan, protesters started gathering at the cit’s Kachehri Chowk, while in Gilgit, members of PML-N, as well as JUI, participated in the protest rally at Ittihad Chowk.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif appealed to the masses and asked them to join the protest against growing inflation in the country.

He maintained that giving more time to the government means that people of the country will have to face more troubles, more inflation, more unemployment.

“The economic condition of the country and its people would not improve unless we get rid of this tyrannical government,” said Shahbaz, as he directed party leaders of the Pakistan Democratic Movement to ensure cooperation with civic and business organisations and people’s associations and appealed to the people to join the nationwide protests against inflation.

PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah had said that demonstrations will be held at Lahore’s Jain Mandir Chowk after Friday prayers.

The former Punjab law minister invited labourers, traders, lawyers and other wings to support the Opposition’s protest.

“The masses will get relief only when this inept and corrupt government is sent packing,” said Sanaullah, urging people to come out of their homes and join in.

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