• Maryam alleges Imran received funds from India, Israel
• Fazl claims govt has ‘sold’ Kashmir to Modi
• Bilawal skips another PDM demonstration
• Opposition to stage rally in Rawalpindi on Feb 5
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the anti-government alliance of the opposition, in its first “show of power” in the federal capital on Tuesday, asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to immediately decide the seven-year-old foreign funding case against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of receiving funds from Israel and India to topple the previous government of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The PDM rally remained peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from any part of Islamabad and Rawalpindi from where small rallies were taken out which merged into the main one at Kashmir Chowk and then proceeded to the Constitution Avenue where the ECP headquarters are located.
The absence of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was felt as the number of PPP workers was said to be quite thin as compared to other opposition parties, particularly the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F).
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz and her party played a leading role in the protest that started at about 1pm and continued till 5:45pm. Heavy contingents of Rangers, police and other security agencies were deployed on Constitution Avenue. A three-tier wall of security personnel was seen at the entrance of the ECP headquarters so that the protesters could not barge into its premises. Security of all important buildings located in the Constitution Avenue had also been beefed up, including Prime Minister Secretariat, which is located in front of the ECP headquarters where the PDM’s container was placed to provide a stage to the opposition leaders to deliver fiery speeches.
Participants of the rally were shouting slogans like “Modi aur Yahoodi ka jo yar hai, ghaddar hai ghaddar hai,”, “Go Niazi go,” “Vote ko izzat do,” “Kashmir mukhalif hakoomat na manzoor,” etc.
“He (Imran Khan) received funds from India and Israel. The funds came in the name of his servants through Hundi and not through banking channel,” Maryam Nawaz alleged while addressing the rally.
“Do you know who funded him from India? Bharatiya Janata Party member Inder Dosanjh. And the Israeli who funded him was Barry C. Schneps.”
She said the prime minister had confessed in a statement about receiving foreign funding but gave a lame excuse that his agents had received the money and they knew where it came from.
“When the money was coming and you were spending it, you did not know that it came from the agents. But you remembered the agents after seven years when people asked questions and pressure was exerted.”
“When someone accepts his crime, then there is no decision, there is only punishment,” Ms Nawaz said.
“You knew how to sign and receive money, how to spend money like water and use it to topple the [PML-N] government but did not know where the billions were coming from,” she said.
“When you receive funds from BJP members, then why would [you] not pray for Modi to win [the elections]? Why would Kashmir not be thrown in Modi’s lap then?” she said. “When you take money from someone, you have to do his bidding.”
The PML-N leader indirectly blamed the establishment for backing Mr Khan and bringing him to power. “If your agents have done all this, then … which agent put votes in your ballot boxes in the 2018 election… Who were the agents who brought you to power? Who were the agents who got you fake certificate of Sadiq and Ameen (truthful and honest) by former chief justice Saqib Nisar? Who were the agents who managed the media to get news of your choice run under pressure?” she said.
Terming the crowed “unexpectedly” huge, she warned the prime minister: “Imagine how many people will march to Islamabad when we (PDM) will give the call for long march.”
Ms Nawaz said the PDM had gathered in front of the ECP office to remind it of its constitutional responsibilities, to tell the chief election commissioner that your institution was a constitutional institution. “This is the institution that the Constitution has made responsible for respecting the people’s votes.”
Terming the PTI foreign funding case the “biggest fraud in Pakistan’s history”, she said although the cases against her father, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, were expedited and decided within days, the ECP had “only held 70 hearings” of the PTI case in seven years.
She accused the prime minister of trying to stop proceedings of the foreign funding case and said: “Why did you try to stop the case proceedings for 30 times?” She said that Mr Khan had submitted six requests in the court claiming that the case did not fall under the purview of the ECP.
The PML-N vice president said the ECP had formed a scrutiny committee to investigate the PTI foreign funding but for the last three years it could not complete the investigations.
She said the case could be decided in three days but the ECP had been sitting on top of it like a snake for seven years.
She said the prime minister had also filed applications to keep the proceedings of the case secret. “This means theft took place, very big theft.”
Ms Nawaz said the State Bank of Pakistan had identified “23 secret accounts” of the PTI which she claimed were being operated through Prime Minister Khan’s signatures.
The PML-N leader also blamed the ECP for what she said “sufferings” of the people caused by the incumbent government. “Why the commission remained silent when its feet and hands were tied in the 2018 elections? When your institution (ECP) was held hostage and an incompetent person was selected and people’s votes were stolen, why did you not speak?”
Speaking on the occasion, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman announced that the alliance would stage a rally in Rawalpindi on Feb 5 to show solidarity with the people of Indian occupied Kashmir and said the PTI government had “sold” Kashmir to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said the time had come that the nation got rid of “incompetent” and “non-elected” prime minister. “Some powerful institutions took over the election and imposed a Daf-playing man on the people,” he added.
“An incompetent person was made the ruler because this fool will remain in the front and those powerful institutions would rule [in the back],” the Maulana said, adding that he was warning since 2012 that Mr Khan was “Jews’ agent” and now the foreign funding case had substantiated his claim.
He said if required the PDM leaders would give their blood to rid the country of India and Israel-backed government and the movement would continue till removal of the prime minister.
On this the Maulana’s followers chanted a slogan: “Quaid tera aik ishara, hazir hai khoon hamara.”
Other PDM leaders who attended the rally included Raja Pervez Ashraf and Farhatullah Babar of the PPP, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal of PML-N, Awami National Party leader Mian Iftikhar, Balochistan National Party-M president Akhtar Mengal, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Qaumi Watan Party president Aftab Sherpao and Jamiat UIema-i-Pakistan chief Awais Noorani.
Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2021