THE Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – a conglomerate of 11 parties of the opposition – has finally announced a date for its much-talked-about long march on Islamabad. Its leadership, which met in the capital on Thursday with Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the chair, decided to organize the march on March 26 but refrained from seriously discussing or taking any decision on the divisive issues of resignations from the assemblies and the proposal of a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister.
The deliberations of PDM and its announcements indicate that the alliance has, for the time being, been successful in keeping its otherwise fragile unity intact. The inability of the Alliance to announce a date for the long march was being interpreted as a sign of its weakness but now it has taken a unanimous decision on the matter. It is also significant to note that there was no mention of any march towards Rawalpindi as was threatened by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, which shows sanity has prevailed at last. The issues of resignations from national and provincial assemblies and no-trust motion has also created a rift in the component parties of the PDM as PPP was not ready to part ways with the Sindh Government and there were also media reports of some behind-the-scene deal as a result of which top leadership of the party was getting relief in corruption cases. Similarly, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also floated the proposal of no trust but two other parties of the Alliance – PML(N) and JUI(F) expressed reservations about the viability of such a move in view of the past experience of the opposition. Therefore, acting wisely, the PDM leadership deferred a decision on these issues till after Senate elections, which it announced to contest together, adding that the parties would not field candidates against one another. The PDM also rejected the Inquiry Commission on the Broadsheet issue, which means the findings of the body would remain controversial as the opposition feels it was an attempt to cover up ‘misdeeds and corruption’. The decisions of the PDM came as Parliament failed to meaningfully discuss or take up the proposed constitutional amendments aimed at introduction of open ballot during Senate elections and making dual nationality holders eligible to contest polls. This shows a preference for street politics than tackling issues from the platform of Parliament.