LAHORE: Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) and president of the newly-formed opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), called on PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz at her Jati Umra residence in Raiwind here on Wednesday and discussed with her the PDM plan of protest rallies to send the “selected” government home.
“We have no clash with the Army or its leadership. If there is a problem, it is not from our side,” Maulana Fazl said at a post-meeting media talk which was also addressed by Nawaz.
“A historic movement will kick off on Oct 16 in Gujranwala that will lay the foundation of sending home the most incompetent government in the country’s history. A legitimate constitutional government will be formed in the wake of the opposition’s movement. People are looking up to us and the PDM will succeed in this struggle,” the Maulana said, adding that every hurdle in the way of the opposition’s protest would be overcome.
He expressed optimism about the success of the opposition’s protest drive and claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan was already upset even though the movement had yet to be formally launched. “Imran Khan kay pasinay chootay huway hain (Imran Khan is feeling the heat). He is scared. The people are awaiting the success of the opposition protest,” he said while talking to reporters before the meeting.
Local PML-N leader held during police raid on corner meeting in Gujranwala
He said people would start feeling the impact of the PDM movement after a couple of its rallies. “A long march towards Islamabad also features in our protest plan,” he said.
“The PDM’s Gujranwala rally on Oct 16 will be a successful show of power,” he said. He termed the Imran Khan-led government “incompetent and selected” which he added had made people’s lives miserable because of unprecedented price hike and inflation.
Ms Nawaz said: “This is a decisive moment for Pakistan. Nobody can snatch the right from people to elect their prime minister. It’s going to be settled once and for all that it’s the people who have the power to decide the fate of the country.”
She said: “This government is standing on crutches. The PDM is not a small movement. It will secure the right to the ballot and protect the constitution.”
Ms Nawaz said she and Nawaz Sharif did not need to show a certificate of loyalty to anyone.
Addressing PM Khan, she said: “You were saying that India would be happy on Nawaz’s speeches. I tell you…India gets happy when you present Kashmir to it on a platter and register a sedition case against the AJK prime minister and former premiers.”
“We don’t target the state institutions. You (Imran) use state institutions. The former FIA head has said that you ordered him to register cases against me and Nawaz... this is called dragging of institutions (in politics),” she said and alleged that the entire administration in Gujranwala had been changed ahead of the PDM’s rally.
Earlier at the meeting, Ms Nawaz congratulated the Maulana for becoming the first president of the PDM, saying “we are very delighted to have you as the PDM president.”
She said that the masses were looking up to the PDM to rid them of this “anti-people and selected” government. “Getting rid of this government will be a great relief for the people of Pakistan,” she said and expressed the hope that under Maulana Fazl’s leadership, the PDM would achieve its target.
Ms Nawaz, daughter of former premier Nawaz Sharif, assured the Maulana that under his leadership her party would play its role fully during the anti-government movement.
When the JUI-F had staged a sit-in in Islamabad in October 2019, neither the PML-N nor the Pakistan Peoples Party had joined the protest. The Maulana had expressed his disappointment on this and complained to the leadership of both parties. However, before the formation of the PDM, both the parties, particularly the PML-N, had assured the Maulana that this time around they would not leave the anti-government movement in the middle.
Ms Nawaz also criticised the PTI government for registration of a sedition case against the PML-N leadership, including Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider. “What message does the PTI government want to convey to the Kashmiris through this FIR,” she asked and said that foreign policy of the government was a “complete failure”.
She accused the government of placing curbs on the media.
The JUI-F delegation which attended the meeting comprised Maulana Yousuf, Maulana Amjad Khan, Mufti Ibrar Ahmed, Dr Attiqur Rehman, Maulana Safiullah and Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan leader Awais Noorani.
PML-N leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Khwaja Asif, Ayaz Sadiq, Pervaiz Rashid, Mohammad Zubair and Marriyum Aurangzeb were also present in the meeting.
Meanwhile, police in Gujranwala raided a PML-N corner meeting and arrested the city organiser of the party.
MNA Khurram Dastgir was to address the corner meeting.
Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2020