PDM agrees on ‘long march’, contesting Senate elections together: Fazlur Rehman

February 4, 2021 10:17 pm by Web Desk


PDM members, including alliance’s chief Fazlur Rehman (centre) and PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz (right), addressing a press conference after PDM’s meeting. Photo: Geo.tv/ file
  • Fazlur Rehman announces long march towards Islamabad on March 26 after nearly six hour long huddle
  • Says parties to contest Senate elections together; PDM rejects open ballot method
  • Nawaz Sharif, Fazlur Rehman speak over the phone before PDM meeting

ISLAMABAD/ LAHORE: Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is addressing a press conference after an important meeting of the anti-government alliance was held to mull several strategies, including participation in the Senate elections and the long march, in its anti-government campaign.

Fazlur Rehman said that the alliance has decided on a “long march” towards Islamabad on March 26. According to sources, the long march will be termed “mehengai march (march against inflation)”.

He also said that the parties have decided to contest the Senate elections together and will not go against each other’s candidates.

The PDM chief said that the movement opposes the open ballot method of Senate polls.

Six hour huddle

Prior to the press conference a meeting between senior party leaders was held in Islamabad, lasting nearly six hours.

PPP’s delegation included Bilawal Bhutto, Yousaf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Sherry Rehman, Qamar Zaman Kaira, and Farhatullah Babar. From PML-N, the party’s vice-president Maryam Nawaz, Ahsan Iqbal, Marriyum Aurangzeb, and Rana Sanaullah were present.

Ameer Haider Hoti, Mehmood Khan Ackahzai, Aftab Sherpao, Akram Durrani, Owais Shah Noorani, Professor Sajid Mir, and Dr Malik were also in attendance.

Sources said that other options, including a no-confidence motion were also debated between PPP and PML-N leaders.

Nawaz, Fazl speak over phone

Earlier, Fazl and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had reportedly spoken over the phone. Sources said the two leaders had consultations over the anti-government movement.

Nawaz is said to have agreed with the proposals put forward by Fazl, giving assurances to the PDM chief of PML-N’s full support on whatever PDM decides.

Read more: Maryam, Fazl discuss Nawaz’s message at PDM chief’s residence: sources

It was reported that Nawaz told Fazl that the PML-N is ready to use full force in the anti-government movement.

News of the phone call between Nawaz and Fazl comes after a meeting at Fazl’s house of JUI-F’s Central Working Committee which lasted for six hours. After the meeting, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz reached Fazl’s house with PML-N veteran leader Rana Sanaullah and party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb.

The discussion of the politicians reportedly centred around PDM’s joint strategy on the Senate elections and PPP’s no-confidence motion – both to be debated today.

‘PTI government a threat to Pakistan’

A day earlier, PML-N senior leader Ahsan Iqbal had said the PTI government has become a threat to Pakistan.

He was speaking to the media outside the residence of Fazl in Islamabad. Iqbal said the PTI government has ruined the economy and foreign policy.

Read more: PDM to contest by-polls, will take decision on Senate election later: Fazl

The deadline given to the government to resign has expired, he said, adding that the top leadership of the PDM will now make important announcements regarding the long march and future strategy of the 11-party opposition alliance against the government.

Iqbal said that one thing everyone in the agreed on in the meeting at Fazl’s house was that Imran Khan has to go.

We will not be at peace till we dismiss this government, he said.

What is expected at PDM’s meeting today?

The PDM is expected to make decisions over its long march plans, strategy on the Senate elections and PPP’s role in the alliance.

The News reported that PDM is planning to hold the long march after the Senate elections somewhere in the mid or later part of March.

Read more: Maryam Nawaz says PDM will not contest Senate elections without consensus

PDM will make the PPP spell out the real agenda it wants to achieve through the platform, the publication reported, quoting sources. It said the PML-N and the rest of the parties are not buying the political wisdom of former president Asif Ali Zardari based on the gradual exit of General Musharraf.

Sources are of the view that the PPP will be grilled on all its priorities.


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