‘Army has tested everyone’: GDA foresees martial law

Published February 17, 2024
Supporters of the Grand Democratic Alliance gather during a protest rally in Jamshoro on Friday, amid claims of rigging in elections.—AFP
Supporters of the Grand Democratic Alliance gather during a protest rally in Jamshoro on Friday, amid claims of rigging in elections.—AFP

HYDERABAD: Grand Democratic Al­­l­iance (GDA) leader Pir Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi on Friday hinted at the possibility of imposition of an emergency or martial law, because “the army has tried everyone and none is left to be tested” now.

The Pir Pagara further said that in such an eventuality the judges would provide legitimacy and legal cover to martial law or emergency.

He was addressing a huge gathering, mostly comprising the Hur Jamaat followers from across Sindh, held at the Jamshoro-Hyderabad intersection of M9 to protest against the “sale of elections”.

The protest sit-in continued since morning. Roads leading to Karachi and Indus Highway remained blocked. All GDA’s leading lights including Dr Safdar Abbasi, Murtaza Jatoi, Dr Fehmida Mirza, Rashid Soomro, Ayaz Latif Palijo Dr Qadir Magsi, who was not part of GDA, also spoke.

Pir Pagara claims ‘payment was made and elections sold three months ago’

Pir Pagara said he didn’t embark on campaign trail as elections results were sold two to three months back and ‘payment’ had also been made. He said he didn’t agree with friends to hold public meetings because it entailed expenditures of Rs25 million to Rs30m.

Alluding to province-specific majority of some parties, he said, “I repeatedly tell friends that army is the protector and symbol of federation. This election has proved that no one is the leader of national level as all have become provincial-level leaders.”

He said this protest was against the dacoity of elections. Commenting on the poll results, the GDA leader said that winners were themselves surprised on their victory and losers like him were on the roads.

“Those who take decisions will have to think as they don’t have any national-level leader. So, army alone is there to take care of federation,” he declared.

He assailed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for lambasting PTI on its intra-party elections although similar intra-party elections were held by PPP, PML-N and PML-F.

“Why doesn’t ECP look into massive sale of elections now? Is it sleeping?” he asked and disagreed with the perception that Imran Khan was thief in view of the Toshakhana case.

He said if Mr Khan was a thief and “all of us are thieves”. All past presidents and prime ministers took vehicles from Toshakhana, he pointed out and added that Imran Khan might have erred in something.

Pir Pagara said he believed that given the situation a hotchpotch government will emerge at the federal level which would not last beyond eight to ten months.

He hinted at the possibility of imposition of emergency or martial law because army had tested everyone and now no one was left to be tested. “These very judges will give legitimacy and legal cover to it [martial law],” he claimed.

GDA secretary general Safdar Abbasi announced holding similar protest sit-in on Feb 20 in Moro as he vowed to continue this struggle.

Murtaza Jatoi recalled that Hur movement formed the basis of Pakistan’s inception and today people of Sindh were being pushed against the wall.

PML-F general secretary Sadruddin Shah pledged that this struggle would continue till stolen votes were returned.

Jamaat-i-Islami’s Hafiz Naeemur Rehman said elections had also been stolen in Karachi where he was given a seat to silence but he declined to accept it.

JUI-F’s Maulana Rashid Soomro said trillions of rupees were spent by the Sindh government during the last two years as per the budget figures given by the former CM but no adequate development was seen anywhere.

Qaumi Awami Tehreek leader Ayaz Latif Palijo while criticising the previous PPP government said Sindh’s education had been destroyed in the last 15 years.

 Fehmida Mirza speaks at GDA rally near Jamshoro. — DawnNewsTV
Fehmida Mirza speaks at GDA rally near Jamshoro. — DawnNewsTV

Dr Fehmida Mirza said that GDA had rejected the polls results. “Fingers are being raised at you. Sindh has been presented [to PPP] like a cake on a platter,” she claimed. She also accused CEC of stealing LG and general elections from people.

GDA candidate from Sanghar and former MNA Saira Bano demanded invoking Article-6 against those who had rigged elections.

Arbab Ghulam Rahim, Liaquat Jatoi, STP Chairman Dr Qadir Magsi and Dr Rahila Magsialso spoke.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2024

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