It is understood whom 'establishment' refers to, clarifies Maulana Fazl as PDM leaders chalk out future strategy

Published November 8, 2020
Pakistan Democratic Movement chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman speaks to the media in Islamabad on November 8. — DawnNewsTV
Pakistan Democratic Movement chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman speaks to the media in Islamabad on November 8. — DawnNewsTV

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday said that it was very well understood who is being addressed when the word "establishment" is used.

"This is not an issue, the media has made it an issue," he said while responding to a question during a press conference in Islamabad.

Rehman — who is also the chief of the 11-party opposition alliance called the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — had convened a meeting of the heads of the alliance’s constituent parties to review the prevailing political situation in the country earlier today.

"We respect the country's institutions, but if the names of politicians can be taken [...] then the name of someone belonging to the country's institutions can also be taken. This is not a crime."

He added that some were respectful while others were more pragmatic in this regard, before refusing to take more questions on the issue.

Rehman's comments come days after PPP's Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said he was "shocked" when he heard PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif's speech during the PDM's first rally in Gujranwala in which Nawaz named the country's top military leadership for orchestrating his ouster among other things.

On Saturday, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz downplayed Bilawal's remarks and said the party had no reservations over it. "Bilawal’s statement was clear. Its misinterpretation is the need of a few people. Since (the government’s) boat is sinking, they are trying to create cracks within the PDM," she had said.

Addressing the presser after the PDM's meeting on Sunday, Rehman began by commenting on the details of the meeting. "Party representatives participated in the meeting [and] PML-N's Nawaz Sharif and PPP's Asif Ali Zardari participated via video link."

During the meeting, the country's current political situation was reviewed and the future roadmap was deliberated upon, he said. "It was unanimously observed that the most pressing issue is the country's current economic situation which has stripped the common man's peace of mind and made it difficult for him to survive."

He stated that the "united PDM" also talked about the schedule for future rallies. "On November 13, the steering committee will hold a meeting where all parties will give their recommendations for a mutual agreement.

"On November 14, the PDM leadership will hold another meeting in Islamabad which will give a decisive outline to the recommendations put forward by the steering committee."

He added that during today's meeting, the events surrounding and following the arrest of PML-N leader retired Captain Safdar were also discussed.

"The army chief had intervened after Sindh police officials had applied for leaves en masse. They were assured that an inquiry committee would be constituted which would present its findings in 10 days. However, three weeks have passed since then and no report has come forward," he said.

He maintained that the meeting also condemned the recent remarks by Minister for Interior retired Brigadier Ijaz Shah in which he had allegedly warned the opposition of attacks by the Taliban.

The PDM, which has already held public meetings in Gujranwala, Karachi and Quetta, is now scheduled to hold public meetings in Peshawar on November 22, in Multan on November 30 and in Lahore on December 13.

PDM leaders have claimed that the December 13 Lahore public meeting will be “biggest gathering” in the country’s history after which the present “set-up” will no more be able to stand against wishes of the people of the country.

The PDM has already given the call for a long march to Islamabad in January next year to seek the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.



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