ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) announced an anti-government long march towards Islamabad on 23rd of March, which also marks the Pakistan Day, but could not reach a consensus on tendering resignations from the national and provincial assemblies.
The heads of PDM parties, which met here on Monday with the movement’s President Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the chair, decided to name the march as ‘Mahngai March’ as protest against increasing inflation and sky-rocketing price hike in the country.
The PML-N Quaid, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, PML-N President Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar attended the meeting through video link. “We have decided to march towards Islamabad on March 23 and leaders and workers of the PDM parties will reach the federal capital from nook and corner of the country,” Maulana Fazlur Rehman told the media after the meeting.
On the issue of resignations, the PDM president said all the parties were unanimous on resigning from the assemblies and the card of resignations would be played at timing of their own will. Fazl said the PDM leaders’ decision to tender resignations from assemblies was intact but would decide about the same after the long march.
He said the PTI-led government was selected after 2018 but the whole nation was suffering because of its failures in shape of price hike, unemployment and lawlessness across the country. The PDM chief said that prior to the long march, the provincial level meetings would be held in all the four provinces to chalk out strategy for the mega event.
The PML-N President Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif would summon PDM Punjab meeting, Maulana Fazlur Rehman would chair PDM Khyber Pakhtunkhwa meeting. Similarly, Mahmood Khan Achakzai was given responsibility for PDM Balochistan while Maulana Awais Noorani would call PDM Sindh province meeting.
He said that PDM would also hold a representative seminar of people belonging different walks of life including lawyers, business community and the civil society members. “I myself will meeting representatives of the Supreme Court Bar Association, business community and members of the civil society,” Fazlur Rehman said.
He said the PDM meeting also strongly condemned the Sialkot incident, saying that neither such tragic incident could be encouraged nor should anybody be allowed to take law into his hand. He maintained that the government should take measures to prevent any such incidents in future.
Asked as to why the PDM opted for long march on March 23 when Pakistan Day Parade is also organised in Islamabad, Fazlur Rehman said they were also part of the nation and on Pakistan Day would reach Islamabad.
He said the steering committee of PDM would hold meeting today (Tuesday) to discuss decisions taken at PDM heads meeting and chalk out a strategy in this connection. The PDM president told a questioner that the opposition parties, however, would participate in the local government elections.
To a question regarding his resignation as PDM President, Fazlur Rehman said media aired false news on a television channel. Meanwhile, in a statement Fazlur Rehman said the government, law and Constitution would have to come into action against heinous Sialkot tragedy.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Monday claimed Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s talk of march towards Islamabad will turned out to be merely a rhetoric.
“March 23 is an important day for the nation of Pakistan, it is a day to unite the nation, not a day to separate the nation. March 23 will also come, you are also here, we are also here, we will see,” Fawad said.
The minister was giving his reaction to Maulana’s media talk after the PDM meeting. “Maulana Fazlur Rehman has been trying to send this system packing, as he is not a part of this system,” he remarked.
Opposition, he noted, has right to march and protest as PM Imran Khan also says opposition’s job is to criticise. PDM has hinted at marching towards Islamabad on March 23. Maulana Fazlur Rehman has changed the dates and strategies many times before, this date will not be final either.
“Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz appear with Maulana Fazlur Rehman because they are not part of the system. Even in today’s meeting, the views of the parties and personalities inside the Parliament were different from those outside the Parliament,” claimed Fawad. The minister said that PDM was nearing its end and this time they will also fail.
He said that local government elections are to be held in Punjab, local body elections are being held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on December 19, after which we will present our final budget next year and elections are to be held in the country in five years (2023).
The minister claimed that no one was listening to Maulana for his untimely uttering. He advised Maulana Fazlur Rehman to have courage and look to his right and left, there is no one with him, as he is sitting alone. “It is hoped that the parties involved in the PDM would have questioned the irresponsible statement of Maulana Fazlur Rehman regarding the Sialkot tragedy,” he maintained and said Maulana proved irresponsibility and tried to ‘defend’ this tragic incident.
Meanwhile, senior PMLN leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi later told Geo News that the proposal of resignations was intact but they also wanted to keep option of no-confidence move against the prime minister open. He said it would be of no use if all the opposition parties do not resign from assemblies. “The system will not function if all the opposition parties are out of assemblies,” he claimed.