-Govt allows opposition to hold rallies but with compliance of SOPs
By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
ISLAMABAD: The federal government has agreed on Monday to let opposition parties hold rallies and processions across the country as the Prime Minister Imran Khan said their real agenda will reveal itself soon.
After weeks-long deliberation and confusions over what the future might hold for opposition parties’ movement, the federal cabinet has finally approved opposition’s plans to hold rallies against the government across Pakistan after, it stated, the PM said holding them back in their futile bid will unnecessarily make them heroes.
According to the details, the PM held a critical huddle to mull over political matters of the country at present, wherein the ministers and assistants recommended to allow opposition parties to hold their rallies.
The ruling members suggested to the PM that opposition be allowed to bring out their rallies on specific spots while the district authorities in the relevant areas will ensure they follow COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
A while back, federal planning minister Asad Umar, elaborating on federal government policy, said that no party including the ruling ones should bring political rallies while the country still struggled with COVID-19 situation.
It is pertinent to note that the opposition alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rallies and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’s (PMLN) workers conventions have been slated to start from later this month.
First PDM political procession is scheduled for Oct 25 in Quetta followed with second in Peshawar on Nov 22 and in Multan on Nov 30. The next in series, according to the schedule, will be carried out on Dec 13 in Lahore and on Dec 27 in Larkana.
Meanwhile, the worker’s conventions have been scheduled to hold on Oct 29 in Nawabshah, on Oct 30 in Umarkot and on Oct 31 in Rawalpindi. They will continue into the next month with one on Nov 5 in Muzaffargarh, in Bahawalpur on Nov 26, in Faisalabad on Dec 3 and in Sahiwal on Dec 6.
Moreover, the leading opposition party of federal and in Punjab PMLN will hold its worker’s convention in Karachi later today followed with one in Malakand on Oct 19 and in Islamabad on Oct 22. The series will extend to Peshawar on Dec 4, in Sargodha on Dec 9 and in Gujranwala on Dec 11.
Earlier, Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that the “incompetent and selected government of Imran Ahmed Niazi” has become a burden on the country, the people and the economy. It should step down before the public ire kicks this dispensation into the dustbin of the history.
Presiding over a meeting of the party’s Karachi coordination committee at Bilawal House on Sunday, he said that the Oct 18 public meeting of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on the occasion of anniversary of those killed in the Karsaz bomb attacks would be a referendum against what he called the “puppet regime”.
“The Imran regime imposed on the people through stolen mandate has destroyed everything in the country and people are fed up with its anti-people policies of promoting unemployment, inflation, diplomatic isolation and economic assassination of Pakistan,” he added.
He said that the PTI regime had no roots among the people and it had been “selected” to demolish and discredit the country and discourage meritocracy in every field. He asked the committee to facilitate people’s travel to the public meeting venue in Karachi without any hindrances and make best arrangements for the party’s and other democratic forces’ workers. KCC coordinator Waqar Mehdi, PPP-Karachi president Saeed Ghani, MNA Qadir Patel, Lal Bux Bhutto, Najmi Alam, MPA Sajid Jokhio, Khalid Lateef, Ghulam Mohammed Samoon and others were present in the meeting.
A meeting of parliamentarians from Sindh belonging to the PPP was held in Hyderabad at the residence of former provincial minister Sharjeel Inam Memon on Sunday. The leaders said that the Oct 18 public meeting in Karachi would be historic.
Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, PPP Sindh chapter president Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said that PDM comprising 11 parties would unite the opposition. He said all institutions of the country belonged to people and they were answerable to them. Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that the [Bundal and Buddu] islands belonged to Sindh and the federal government had acted unconstitutionally by occupying them.
He said PPP would get a resolution passed in the Sindh Assembly against this act of the federal government. He said similar resolutions would be adopted in the National Assembly and the Senate. He said that these islands were properties of Sindh and would remain so.
He said that PDM leaders would attend Oct 18 public meeting of the PPP in Karachi that would mark the anniversary of Oct 18, 2007 Karsaz twin bombings.
Mr Shah said that when the PPP tried to get democracy restored its leadership was targeted and the party had to collect 200 bodies. The PPP’s FIR was not even lodged during the Musharraf government after Oct 18 tragedy, he said.
He added Prime Minister Imran Khan represented a minority government. He said that all institutions of the country belonged to Pakistani nation. He said that these institutions were answerable to the people. He accused the government of trying to break opposition on the pattern of Musharraf. He said that this government was opposing 18th Amendment to the Constitution.
Mr Shah sarcastically said this government was running a factory of ordinances. He said that a divided opposition would not be beneficial for the country.
PPP-Parliamentarians’ information secretary Nafisa Shah said that PDM’s movement had been started and after Gujranwala it would also reach Karachi. She said that PM Khan in his speech looked frightened and added that his speech showed that he was a selected PM.
She said that this government had held the masses hostage. She said that PM spoke like as if he was delivering his container speech.
She said that Pakistan’s economy had been badly hit due to the government’s policies. She said that the Oct 18 anniversary would prove to be a day of emancipation. She said that till the acceptance of the PDM’s 26 points, this caravan would be in the field. PPP’s central information secretary and Senator Maula Bux Chandio said it was unfortunate that the government even declined to accept the offer of reconciliation with the opposition.
He said that Mr Bhutto-Zardari had offered a helping hand at the very beginning of the government, but the ruling PTI ignored it.
He said that due to the incompetent government opposition parties were protesting on the roads. Mr Chandio maintained that the PM had made the national institutions controversial through his statements.