PDM failed to plan anti-government campaign

ISLAMABAD: The opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement on Tuesday failed to come up with a plan to launch its announced anti-government protest campaign as PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman, after chairing a meeting of heads of constituents announced that they would again Will meet on 6 December after which they will formulate “a final policy” and “announce very important decisions”.

“Today we had a detailed debate on the current situation in the country. The next meeting of PDM chiefs will be held in Islamabad on 6 December. All the constituent parties will prepare their recommendations before this meeting. [regarding launching of the anti-government protest movement] After taking their respective decisions and holding in-house consultations in powerful bodies,” Maulana Fazal said while talking to reporters after a nearly four-hour-long meeting, in which Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) supreme leader were also involved. Nawaz Sharif and party presidents Shahbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz via video link.

The Maulana smiled and shrugged off questions about possible long marches by overzealous journalists and mass resignations from assemblies by asking them to wait only till December 6, saying, “The time is not far away. We will move towards the final and final decision to free the country from the present oppression.

Maulana Fazal says heads of constituent parties will meet on December 6 to announce ‘very important decisions’

Responding to a question, the Maulana rejected the notion that there was a deadlock between the parties on some matters and said he wanted to take a decision after thoroughly reviewing the likely consequences of his steps while maintaining unity among the PDM constituents. Were.

When asked why the PDM adopted a policy of hypocrisy, on the one hand it was unwilling to reconcile and, on the other hand, it was hesitant to start a politics of confrontation, the Maulana again replied succinctly: “You get it. The answer to this question will also be given on 6th December.

Journalists and political experts were hoping that the PDM, which has met thrice in the last six weeks to discuss the issue, would come out with some concrete plans this time as the meeting came a day after the opposition coalition’s steering committee. It was happening. Announced that it has finalized its recommendations for the anti-government protest plan and will be announced after the approval of party chiefs at Tuesday’s meeting.

Briefing reporters about the decisions of the steering committee on Monday, PDM spokesperson Hafiz Hamdulla had said that they would plan protest rallies, road caravans, sit-ins and shutter-downs and wheel-jam strikes over the next four months and a final Long March was proposed. Towards Islamabad in the following March. He had claimed that the option of resigning from the assemblies was also under consideration.

Mr. Hamdulla also announced that the opposition has decided to challenge the recently passed controversial legislation, including the Electoral Reform Bill, in court and that he has also constituted a panel of lawyers for the purpose.

However, when Maulana Fazal was asked the same question on Tuesday, he was found non-committal saying that he would go to the courts, but before that the judiciary needed to take steps to restore its confidence after the recent past. controversial affidavit Former Chief Justice of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Shamim and alleged leaked audio clip Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar K.

He said the controversial affidavit and the leaked audio clip had “damaged” the image of the judiciary and it is now up to the judges to restore its image through their conduct. He regretted that voices were coming from within the judiciary regarding decisions taken against democratically elected governments in the past.

“It is up to the court whether it is going to announce the verdict after getting the directions or not” [from some institutions] Saqib is doing justice like Nisar or as per the constitution and laws,” he said.

Maulana Fazal, who is also the head of his faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, said the 33 bills passed by the government in the joint sitting of Parliament on November 17 were “a mockery of parliamentary conventions”.

Once again rejecting the idea of ​​using Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the next elections, he termed it as a “pre-poll rigging scheme”. He also said that the opposition will come out with a strategy in line with the Constitution and laws to give proper representation to foreign Pakistanis in Parliament. He asked foreign Pakistanis “not to fall prey to the present illegitimate government, which is a product of rigged elections”.

The Maulana targeted the government for bulldozing the EVM bill through Parliament despite the objections of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). He warned the government against “taking any step to make the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) a branch of the IMF (International Monetary Fund).”

In addition to several meetings of its steering committee, this was the third meeting of the heads of the PDM constituents in six weeks’ time, after which coalition leaders announced the postponement of their plans to launch what he had always considered a decisive and decisive role. Called the last step. of anti-government protests that will end in a long march towards Islamabad.

After a similar meeting on November 6, the PDM announced that it had decided to launch a “decisive” anti-government protest campaign, which began with a public meeting in Karachi on 13 November and culminated in a long march to Islamabad, a date to be finalized later.

The announcement was made by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, PDM general secretary and senior vice president of PML-N, in a statement issued after a meeting of the heads of the coalition’s constituents, which took place via video link.

According to Mr. Abbasi, the PDM leadership had decided to hold the last public meeting in Lahore. However, he did not announce a date for this, saying that after the Lahore public meeting, he would begin a “decisive long march” towards Islamabad.

“This movement will end only after sending” [Prime Minister] Imran Khan home,” Mr Abbasi had said, adding that the people of Pakistan were not ready to tolerate the government even for a moment.

The PDM started its first protest campaign in October last year with public meetings in major cities of the country and some of them were even addressed via video link by self-exiled leader of PML-N Nawaz Sharif.

Two other opposition parties – the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Awami National Party (ANP) were also part of the PDM at that time.

The first phase of the PDM movement came to an abrupt end as the coalition leadership did not announce any future programs after its last public meeting in Lahore on 31 December.

In March 2021, the PPP and the ANP left the coalition after developing differences over the issue of mass resignation from parliament and the controversial nomination of the PPP’s Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

Published in Dawn, November 24, 2021