PDM demands PTI govt quit by January 31 or face long march

Published December 14, 2020
PDM leaders speak to the media in Lahore on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
PDM leaders speak to the media in Lahore on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

The opposition's Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Monday demanded the PTI-led government quit by January 31 or face an intensified opposition movement, including a long march to the capital.

The demand was made by PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman while speaking to the media in Lahore alongside PML-N's Maryam Nawaz, PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and other opposition leaders.

As part of the anti-government movement, Rehman said lawmakers from PDM member parties in the national and provincial assemblies will hand in their resignations to their party leaders by December 31.

"Today, we want to make clear to the government that it should resign by January 31," the JUI-F leader said.

He said that if the government refuses to quit by that time, a meeting of the PDM's leadership on February 1 will announce a long march towards Islamabad, the date of which will also be decided during the meeting.

"All party workers in PDM and the people of Pakistan are appealed to start preparations for the long march from today," Rehman added.

He said that following Sunday's "historic" PDM public gathering at the Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore, PDM leaders had today signed a detailed communique in continuation of the opposition's objectives.

Read: PDM rules out talks, declares it’s time for long march at Lahore power show

He said the schedules issued by the PDM's steering committee to provinces for preparations of the planned long march will remain in effect, adding that the heads and representatives of the PDM's constituent parties will form committees in their respective provinces and will work on preparations for the long march.

"During today's meeting, anger was also expressed at the way the military's media affairs wing put pressure on electronic media for negative propaganda against the rally." We have to make this conspiracy a failure, he said, adding that the Lahore rally will be remembered in history.

Meanwhile, PML-N's Maryam stated that it was a "matter of concern" that certain channels were airing news that was completely baseless.

"There is a video of me on record, that with both of my hands, I appreciated and acknowledged the efforts of my party workers and Lahore MNAs and MPAs.

"Before the Lahore jalsa, I held rallies in every corner of the city. All of Pakistan has seen that," she said.

Terming Sunday's public meeting a success, Maryam said that those who turned up to attend had to stand outside the venue just to listen to the speeches. "I have never seen a rally like this in all my life. Despite the cold, I could not see a single chair."

She said that despite all odds, including the coronavirus outbreak and the "fascist" government, the people of Lahore turned out "in the thousands".

She added that some channels had started "propaganda" against the opposition before she had even left for the venue. "Our media didn't show the truth but foreign media, such as BBC and Al Jazeera, have shown a mirror to certain elements of our media."

The PPP chairman added that all parties under the PDM were one and will make decision together from the alliance's platform.

"As far as dialogue is concerned, then the PDM's stance was presented yesterday in front of the people of Lahore. The time for dialogue is over. Now is the time to March and for Imran's resignation."

Soon after the opposition's press talk, federal minister Asad Umar scoffed at the PDM's demand for the government to quit by January's end.

"When Maulana demanded that the government resign by January 31 with a straight face, I feared that [Prime Minister] Imran Khan, if he is watching television, will fall off his chair while laughing," he tweeted.

SAPM Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari added: "Just when you thought nothing could be better than #IshaqDar’s interview. #PDM gives us another mega flop jalsa. This look on their faces says everything ... can enjoy this for years!"

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