PDM to start anti-govt protests from July 4: Fazl

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Rejects ‘one-sided’ electoral reforms; Demands joint session on security

Ijaz Kakakhel
Islamabad

Pakistan Democratic Movement chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Saturday announced that the opposition parties would restart the movement with more anti-government rallies and that it will work alongside Pakistan People’s Party and Awami National Party in the Parliament.

This was stated by PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman as he addressed a press conference alongside other PDM leaders.

The PDM also rejected the government’s “one-sided” electoral reforms, which include the use of electronic voting machines.

“PDM rejects the government’s unilateral electoral reforms ordinance, including the voting machines, and terms it as pre-poll rigging.”

In this regard, the Election Commission of Pakistan should call a meeting of all political parties to take a unanimous decision on reforms, he said.

The PDM chief said PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal, attended the alliance’s meeting via video, while other Opposition party leaders were present in person.

Fazlur Rehman said PDM has decided to begin legal proceedings against the PTI-led government’s “unlawful acts”, for which, a legal team will be formed, with PML-N’s Azam Nazeer Tarar as its convener and JUI-F’s Kamran Murtaza as the co-convener.

These announcements were made after PDM meeting at PML-N’s Islamabad Secretariat, which was chaired by PDM head Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

The meeting was also attended by Shahbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Aftab Sherpao, Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Mir Kabeer Shahi and Tahir Bizenjo.

The meeting discussed the political situation in the country and the future strategy of PDM.

It was decided during the meeting that PDM will join hands with PPP and ANP in the parliament and the opposition parties will jointly oppose the budget session in order to expose the government’s falsified figures.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that the present government is unelected and unable to face any emerging challenge.

He said that PDM plans to hold large protest rallies for mobilization of the public, with a rally on July 4 in Swat, July 29 in Karachi and a grand protest in Islamabad on August 14 to celebrate Independence Day.

“It will be an expression of solidarity with the people of Pakistan”, said Fazlur Rehman.

Talking about the regional situation, he said that the circumstances were alarming and called for a meeting of the Joint Session of Parliament on the situation in Afghanistan.

PDM demands that in light of the situation prevailing in the region and Afghanistan, a joint session of the parliament be called to discuss the foreign and defence policies, he said.

The PDM chief said the relevant officials overseeing the policies should brief the house over the developments in the Afghan peace process and other matters related to the process.

“Especially, the officials should inform the house on the speculations that Pakistan is offering airspaces to American planes,” Fazl said, adding the parliament should be taken into confidence on these matters.

“There are rumours that Pakistan will provide airbase to American planes. Can Pakistan face the possible difficulties that may arise”, asked Fazlur Rehman while demanding an in-camera session of the Parliament.

The PDM meeting strongly condemned the attack on journalists and expressed its solidarity with them, he said.

A delegation of the anti-government alliance will also visit the residence of the affected journalists Asad Ali Toor and Absar Alam, Fazl said.

PML-N will also host a budget seminar soon to form a unified strategy during the government’s budget session in the parliament, while the task to hold the event has been given to PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, Fazlur Rehman said.

He said that the PDM leaders, during the meeting, expressed concerns over the tumultuous events transpiring in the region.

“Our government is not elected, and the government that does not have the backing of the people does not have the capability to face any challenge,” he said.

Fazlur Rehman accused the government of taking over the citizens’ lawfully owned lands to benefit some people.

“PDM stands with the people and will never let them feel alone in these stressful times.”

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