• JUI-F leader says time for meetings over
• Maryam says PM made a mockery of ISI chief’s appointment
FAISALABAD: President of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has requested all partners in the opposition alliance to take to the streets instead of holding meetings.
Announcing the movement’s next public meeting in Dera Ghazi Khan on Oct 31, Fazl asked the masses to join them.
“We should not disappoint the masses otherwise it will lead to anarchy,” the maulana said while addressing a rally organised under the PDM banner at the Dhobi Ghat ground here on Saturday evening.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan fooled the youth by promising them 10 million jobs, but today his government has deprived three million people of employment,” he claimed. He said Punjab being the `elder brother’ should rise to lift the country out of the current situation.
He said a state could not survive if its economy deteriorated. “Now a war on the economic front has begun across the globe and the situation is changing,” he added.
The maulana further said every institution must perform within its constitutional limits, adding that parliament represented the masses, but it had been made a rubber stamp. About the country’s foreign relations, the PDM leader said Islamabad had angered China and the US also did not extend any help while Iran stood with India that had snatched Kashmir from Pakistan.
It was earlier claimed by the PML-N leadership that party supremo Nawaz Sharif would address the event via video link. However, that did not happen.
Addressing the gathering, PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz said PM Khan had disgraced the judiciary and snatched media freedom.
She assailed the prime minister over the issue of the appointment of the director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
She accused Mr Khan of making a mockery of the army in front of the world. “People are aware that you made a mockery of this appointment only to prolong your rule.”
At the same time, Maryam Nawaz said she admitted the appointment (of the ISI chief) was the premier’s discretion, but added that it’s the masses who elected their PM who then decided on their behalf.
“Although Khan is selected, we would have stood by him had he displayed a democratic approach,” she said.
“Don’t try to become Nawaz Sharif and a political martyr when you go to the masses because they are ready to settle their score with you over the historical price hike,” she warned the prime minister. She asked the masses to stand up against the government to change their destiny for which she said the time had come.
The PML-N leader told the gathering that her father, Nawaz Sharif, had called her and asked to express solidarity with the masses on his behalf over the rising inflation.
She also criticised PM Khan over the energy issue, alleging that he had intentionally delayed the import of LNG. In the Pandora Papers leak, the PTI topped the list but people were being deceived that Khan’s name was not in the documents, she remarked.
She then questioned where “Justice Khosa was who asked Imran Khan to submit an application against Nawaz Sharif to him, where are the 4,000 talk shows conducted on Panama Papers now that Pandora Papers were also out”.
Maryam also recounted the achievements of her party’s previous governments when she claimed Pakistan was receiving investments and the CPEC was progressing, as opposed to the current government when India and the US had ignored Pakistan. “Nawaz Sharif always stood for civilian supremacy, and lost his three governments and faced jail for standing for these principles.”
Prof Sajid Mir, chief of Jamiat Ahle Hadith, claimed the people were satisfied during Nawaz Sharif’s government, but “selectors’ had brought a person to power who pushed Pakistan into darkness.
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chairman Mahmood Khan Achakzai said a message needed to be sent to the world that Pakistan believed in humanity where Pashtun, Baloch, Sindhi, Seraiki all lived together.
“Democracy is the only way to run this country and the Constitution provides the way to deal with the affairs. The judges and people who sacrificed for democracy should not be forgotten,” he said, suggesting opposition lawmakers resign from parliament, mobilise masses and march on Islamabad.
Former Balochistan chief minister Abdul Malik Baloch said the PDM was struggling for supremacy of the masses and parliament, and sought the people’s support for the purpose. “The fire ignited by Pervez Musharraf is still haunting us and youths are going missing, while now even children are not being spared,” he stressed while talking about missing persons.
PML-N general secretary Ahsan Iqbal, party leader Talal Chaudhry, Shah Owais Noorani and others also spoke on the occasion.
Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2021