PDM to finalise campaign strategy today

Published January 25, 2022
Maulana Fazlur Rehman (right) speaks at a press conference alongside PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif. — DawnNewsTV/File
Maulana Fazlur Rehman (right) speaks at a press conference alongside PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: Heads of the component parties of the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) are meeting here on Tuesday (today) to finalise the anti-government campaign strategy with long march and the option of tabling no-confidence motion in parliament on top of the agenda.

Sources said the steering committee of the alliance had already finalised its recommendations which would be presented before the PDM leadership for their final approval.

PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman had convened the meeting of the heads of component parties after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif called on him at his Islamabad residence on January 12.

The PDM had already given a call for holding a long march to Islamabad against the price hike on March 23. Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has been requesting the opposition alliance to change the date of its long march as the nation celebrates the day as Pakistan Day and there will be some foreign guests in the country on the occasion.

The minister had indirectly conveyed to the PDM that there was a chance that the government might seal the capital city as security measures due to Pakistan Day parade and other activities. However, the sources said, the PDM’s steering committee had recommended to the leadership not to change the date of the long march. They said the PDM had not yet finalised the plan regarding the starting and culminating points and exact dates of the long march. The sources said there was a proposal to start the long march on March 23 from different parts of the country and the participants would reach the capital in two to three days.

The sources said the steering committee had not made any recommendation regarding the duration of the sit-in due to differences within the alliance. They said the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) was in favour of converting the long march into an indefinite sit-in, whereas the PML-N was against such an idea.

The sources said the PDM committee had recommended that the opposition should first table no-confidence motions against National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri as a test case.

Talking to Dawn on Monday, PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal said the PDM leaders in their Tuesday’s meeting would give a serious thinking to the option of tabling the no-trust motion against the government. He said if the PDM decided to go ahead with its plan of moving the no-trust motion, they would also have to finalise a sequence whether they should first bring the motions against the speaker, deputy speaker and the Senate chairman or they should directly move it against the PM.

In response to a question about duration of the long march, Mr Iqbal said it would be decided by them after reaching Islamabad.

Talking to Dawn on condition of anonymity, a senior PDM leader said the alliance leadership had no choice but to seek cooperation with the PPP, if it wanted to make its move of tabling no-confidence motion against the government successful. Not only the PPP, he said, they would even be requiring to approach the allies of the PTI for making their move successful.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2022

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