KARACHI: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice-president Maryam Nawaz is set to address the October 18 rally of opposition parties in Karachi in what is expected to be her first public appearance in the business capital of the country, a senior party leader said on Saturday.
The PML-N is hoping that her speech at the Oct 18 rally to be organised under the banner of Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) would serve to boost the opposition parties’ confidence in their campaign against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
“She will address the rally,” said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in his brief reply to a question during his interaction with a group of journalists at the Muslim League House here.
“The momentum that has been built against the government is in fact a reflection of the people’s annoyance over the current system. The opposition rallies and protests, including the one in Karachi on Oct 18, would set the course for the country’s future — do we want things to continue this way or we have to change them for the betterment of the country,” he said.
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Mr Abbasi, who served as the country’s 21st prime minister between August 2017 and May 2018, sounded quite confident about prospects of the success of the opposition’s ongoing campaign against the PTI-led government.
He said the PDM would bring “some change” as it would “leave no option other than fresh elections”.
Sensing his confident body language, one of the reporters asked him if the opposition parties, including the PML-N, had received any “signal” from the quarters concerned, which might have prompted them to launch a full-blown drive against the government.
In response, Mr Abbasi simply said: “We don’t receive signals. Neither do we want any signal from any side. We want people to decide and the fact is that the people are annoyed.
“They are suffering every day and each passing day is increasing their problems. The economy has collapsed. The foreign policy is meeting failures and the slogan of accountability has turned out to be nothing but a bundle of lies. So no signal is needed.”
Speaking about the people who may have supported the PTI at the time of last elections, he said: “Whoever had any sympathy for them or supported them, are now convinced that they were at mistake.”
Flanked by PML-N leaders Miftah Ismail and Nasiruddin Mahmood, Mr Abbasi reiterated his proposal for a “truth and justice commission” to identify the mistakes committed in the past and set the course of action for the future.
This was needed “because the present government has made mistakes which have put a dent in the country’s democratic traditions”, he said. The model of governance which was introduced in 2018 had failed badly, he added.
“Despite our serious reservations over the 2018 controversial elections, we agreed to go with the democratic system and support the assembly. But now the situation has turned serious and we are concerned about it (the country). The economy has collapsed, the country is facing a serious threat and no ray of hope is in sight.”
Later, Mr Abbasi, along with local leaders of his party, visited Bilawal House and extended an invitation to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for a PDM rally to be held on Oct 16 in Gujranwala.
The senior PPP and PML-N leaders also discussed the current political situation in the country.
A statement issued by the Bilawal House after the meeting said the two leaders agreed that the PTI government was in a state of panic following the launch of a joint campaign by the opposition parties and that they were ready to render any sacrifice for the restoration of true democracy in the country.
“PM Imran Khan in a state of panic is now threatening opposition leaders with dire consequences,” the PPP chairman said during the meeting, according to the statement.
“But we let him know that we would not back out. We are ready to face jail, false cases and every sacrifice, but this government cannot be tolerated anymore. The PDM movement would bring the government down.”
Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2020