Shireen Mazari says govt has 'information' PDM is receiving foreign funding

Published December 9, 2020
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari on Wednesday claimed that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) —  an alliance of 11 opposition parties — was receiving foreign funds. — APP/File
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari on Wednesday claimed that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — an alliance of 11 opposition parties — was receiving foreign funds. — APP/File

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari on Wednesday said the government had "information" that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — an alliance of 11 opposition parties — was receiving foreign funds.

In an exclusive interview with DawnNewsTV, which will be broadcast on Sunday, Mazari said "a lot of foreign funding is being received" by people who are involved in the PDM.

However, the minister stopped short of saying the government had evidence to back up the claim.

"If we get the evidence [...] but when we receive hardcore evidence, then it will become the responsibility of the government to take action," she said, adding "let's see how things unfold."

Elaborating on the claim, Mazari said it had come to her knowledge that that evidence was now surfacing regarding funding for the opposition alliance from abroad.

"[I have] heard that a lot of evidence has been found that funding, encouragement is being sent. You know Pakistan has dissident groups abroad. Every country has them, dissident groups from Pakistan are also abroad, the way they are living, after all they are receiving money from somewhere."

'Resignation drama'

Responding to another question, the minister said the government was waiting for opposition members in the Parliament to submit their resignations, terming it a "drama".

"If they want to resign, they should hand [their resignation letters] to the speaker [of the National Assembly] instead of party leaders," she said.

A day earlier, PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman announced that after a meeting in Islamabad it had been decided that all opposition lawmakers will submit their resignations to their respective party heads by December 31.

The announcement came days before the opposition is due to hold its next rally in Lahore on Dec 13 as part of its campaign to oust the government. Opposition leaders have said they will organise the rally despite the government warning of legal action citing the risk of the spread of the coronavirus.

The PDM chief said 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."

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