Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman announced on Tuesday that all opposition lawmakers will submit their resignations to their respective party heads by December 31.
Rehman made the announcement at a press conference in Islamabad after the PDM leadership held a meeting to decide its future strategy. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz were joined by the JUI-F chief as he addressed the media.
"By December 31, opposition lawmakers from provincial and national assemblies will hand in their resignations to their respective party heads."
The announcement comes days before the opposition's next rally in its anti-government campaign in Lahore on Dec 13. Opposition leaders have said they will organise the rally despite the government warning of legal action and citing the risk of the spread of the coronavirus.
During today's press conference, Rehman said that the steering committee will meet tomorrow to decide the schedule for further rallies and demonstrations. The meeting will also decide the time and the date for the long march towards Islamabad, he said.
The PDM chief said that former premier Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari also participated in the meeting during which all the participants expressed the commitment towards holding the next rally in Lahore on December 13.
Responding to reports about Prime Minister Imran Khan calling for a national dialogue, Rehman said the PDM had rejected his offer. "He is not worthy of dialogue."
He said that the decisions were taken "unanimously", adding that the opposition will not disappoint the people of the country. "The Lahore rally will be historic and it will be the final nail [in the coffin] for the government."
Speaking to Dawn on Monday, PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah had said mainstream opposition parties — PML-N, PPP and JUI-F — had reached a consensus about resigning from the National Assembly in order to push the PTI government for a fresh election.
“The opposition will resign from the National Assembly (in the first phase) and not let the Imran Khan government hold by-polls. We want new free and fair elections and there will be no compromise on this,” he had said.
At the time, the PML-N leader had said that the PPP had expressed reservations over resigning from provincial assemblies along with the National Assembly.
'Trying to save country'
Earlier today, Information Minister Shibli Faraz heaped criticism on the opposition alliance saying that it "does not want Pakistan to enter an era where institutions are respected and independent and where there is a level playing field".
In a press briefing, Faraz said that in a democracy the opposition "formulates its strategy by taking democratic principles in consideration".
"Tell me, [how can] the opposition say that the government should go home just because your (opposition) corruption era has come to an end?" asked Faraz. The minister said that the "absconder's daughter was lecturing and issuing threats" to the government, in an apparent reference to Maryam Nawaz, and asked if the approach was democratic.
He also criticised the PDM chief, questioning his services to the country and Islam in his long-spanning political career. "He (Rehman) was head of the Kashmir committee for 30 years, what did he do [for the Kashmir cause]?" asked the minister.
He said that the leaders of the opposition parties, which have now united against the PTI government, had "stabbed each other in the back" in the past.
The information minister also said that past governments had given jobs on the basis of recommendations and bribes instead of merit which had led to a "massive brain drain". He added that former governments had "brushed difficult decisions under the carpet" and only highlighted superficial achievements.
The incumbent government, he said, had made "bitter decisions for which we had to pay a political price".
"But we are not trying to save our government, we are trying to save the country," he insisted, adding that the PTI administration wanted to rid the country of status quo.