ISLAMABAD: A day before the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) rally in Multan, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday called the opposition the ‘main’ problem in tackling the spread of Covid-19 cases.
“Now, with the new spike, when we again need smart lockdown, they want Jalsas (public gatherings) not caring for the lives and safety of people,” the prime minister said in a tweet.
On the other hand, the opposition says it will hold public meetings in Multan (Monday) and Lahore on Dec 13, irrespective of how much the government tries to stop it.
On Nov 27, the prime minister had categorically said that the government would not give permission to the opposition to hold its rallies in Multan and other cities.
“Coronavirus is spreading dangerously, therefore the opposition should postpone PDM public meetings,” he had said, adding that, “the government will strictly enforce standard operating procedures and not allow the opposition to hold rallies as the health guidelines did not permit large gatherings”.
Reiterates opposition leaders only want concession, have no concern for people’s lives
In his tweet, the prime minister said the opposition leaders’ ‘sole and desperate goal’ was to save their families’ looted wealth, having no concern for people’s lives at a time when Covid-19 cases were rising in the country.
“Protection of looted money and corruption was an integral part of the opposition’s politics,” he added.
Mr Khan reiterated that he would never give National Reconciliation Ordinance-like concession or relief to the opposition leaders facing corruption cases.
“This is all that guides their politics, not any concern for the lives of ordinary citizens. Their desperation to get NRO, anyway they can, motivates them,” PM Khan tweeted.
“They think this is their last means of pressuring us for NRO, which will never happen,” he categorically said while referring to the PDM’s political slogan of toppling the government.
He said during the first wave, the opposition leaders had demanded complete shutdown and opposed the government’s smart lockdown strategy, which was aimed at saving the poor from becoming destitute and preventing the economy from total collapse.
He said, “having never worked a day in their lives, their (opposition leaders) “Shahi” (royal) lifestyles were directly dependent on saving their families’ ill-gotten and illegally acquired wealth through robbing and impoverishing the nation”.
Prime Minister Khan believed that the opposition leaders lacked any empathy for the masses as their families had looted national wealth to further impoverish the people.
“These entitled ‘leaders’ living like royalty in their secluded mansions, have simply inherited their positions because of their families,” he said in a tweet.
Mr Khan said the problem facing Pakistan during Covid-19 was of a political leadership that had never gone through any democratic struggle.
He said the opposition leaders had neither worked with ordinary citizens to understand their problems nor contributed in any substantive way for their betterment.
In a statement on Sunday, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said reports of intimidations, arrests and torture of PPP Jiyalas ahead of the Foundation Day Jalsa has proven that the ‘selected’ government was an incarnation of dictatorship.
“PPP has fought against dictators for five decades and defeated them with the unflinching support of people. It is now selected and puppets’ turn to taste defeat and forever be buried in the political graveyard of their predecessors,” he added.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the PDM leadership had been invited to PPP’s foundation day public meeting in Multan, and every democratic worker would reach the venue despite the highhandedness, torture and arrests by the government and its biased administration officials.
The PPP chairman, who tested positive for Covid-19 and is in isolation, said Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari would represent him at the Multan gathering and welcome the PDM leaders.
Meanwhile, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, spokesperson for Mr Bhutto-Zardari, said it was impossible to crush people’s power through state machinery and the arrests and torture of political workers was the worst form of fascism.
He said imprisonment of Ali Qasim Gilani and other political workers for a month showed that the government was defeated and there was chaos in its ranks.
“When the government starts using such tactics, it shows that its days are numbered,” he added.
“A government’s fear of a few Jalsas is enough proof of its weakness. Now the fate of the government has been decided as the Pakistan Democratic Movement workers are arriving in Multan in great numbers. The PDM jalsa on PPP’s founding day will be held in Multan at any cost,” he added.
Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2020