After day-long huddle, Pakistan Democratic Movement demands PM Imran's 'immediate' resignation

Published September 20, 2020
The forum also demands that elections be held again in a transparent manner. — AP/File
The forum also demands that elections be held again in a transparent manner. — AP/File

After hours of discussion over ways to overthrow the "selected" government, opposition parties at the much-hyped PPP-hosted multiparty conference on Sunday demanded the "immediate" resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

According to a 26-point resolution passed by the multiparty conference, the forum is named Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — an "alliance structure which will lead and guide nationwide protests against the anti-public and anti-nation government in a disciplined and integrated manner".

The resolution, read out by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at a press conference held after multiparty conference late on Sunday evening, stated that the current government has been granted "fake stability by the same establishment" that interfered with the elections to bring the incumbent rulers to power. It expressed "extreme concern" over the increasing interference of the establishment in internal affairs of the country and regarded it as a "danger to the nation's stability and institutions".

The forum also demanded that elections be held again in a transparent manner and that electoral reforms should be passed in order to ensure free and fair polls.

Terming the Parliament a "rubber stamp", the PDM declared that the opposition will not cooperate with the government in the legislative process.

It also demanded that a new law of accountability be passed in the country that is in accordance with the Supreme Court's verdict and recommendations from Human Rights Watch and Council of Islamic Ideology and would hold everyone accountable, including bureaucrats, lawmakers, judicial and army officials. In particular, the PDM resolution said that claims made in a recent news report regarding retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa's assets and family business should be probed. The forum said that Bajwa should be removed as the chairman of CPEC Authority until the investigation is completed.

PDM also agreed upon a six-point action plan to depose the incumbent government, which would be implemented in phases. In the first phase that starts in October, opposition parties will hold joint rallies in all four provinces.

The second phase will begin in December of this year, during which the opposition will hold "huge public demonstrations" across the country. In January next year, the opposition will set out on a "decisive long march" towards Islamabad.

The opposition will also enlist lawyers, traders, farmers, students, media as well as members of the civil society in its movement. In order to oust the government, opposition parties will use "every legal and constitutional option in and out of parliament, which include moving no-confidence motions and collective resignations from assemblies at an appropriate time," the resolution states.

'Non-political establishment'

Responding to questions during the press conference, PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that the PDM wants a "non-political establishment" as the Constitution does not allow the establishment to be involved in political matters of the country.

He said that all the options listed in PDM's action plan and joint resolution are constitutional and legal, including protests and demand for resignation. The lawmaker told reporters that PDM will start working from tomorrow and will continue to work towards its goal of seeing "real democracy" in Pakistan.

Answering a question regarding rumours that some members of the opposition voted in favour of the government to ensure the passage of FATF-related bills last week, Bilawal said that votes fell short because some lawmakers could not attend the session due to different reasons. He assured that the opposition parties were on the same page and had demanded a vote recount. He said that the passage of laws during the joint session of the Parliament was made possible through "rigging".

PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif, in his statement at the press conference, said that the incumbent government's survival is a "threat to Pakistan's existence".

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