Pakistan's survival hinges on government's ouster: PDM

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman (left), PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (centre), and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan chief Shah Awais Noorani addressing an anti-government protest of the PDM in Karachi on November 13, 2021. — YouTube/HumNews
Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman (left), PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (centre), and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan chief Shah Awais Noorani addressing an anti-government protest of the PDM in Karachi on November 13, 2021. — YouTube/HumNews

The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)  on Saturday said that the country’s survival hinges on the incumbent government’s ouster, as it  gears up to march towards Islamabad to bring down the regime.

PDM and JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman told the government the Opposition alliance was fighting for the country’s survival and that it would win in this struggle.

“We will win this war, and Pakistan will have a government that is truly representative of the people, which will understand the problems faced by the masses. The ones who [were imposed] are not aware of the public’s issues,” Fazl said, while addressing a PDM protest in Karachi.

The PDM has ramped up its anti-government protests, with the first of the new wave of protests taking place in Karachi. The next will be held in Quetta on November 17 and in Peshawar on November 20.

“This journey, which has started from Karachi, will continue […] and we will march to Lahore, and from there, we will go to Islamabad,” Fazl said.

In meetings between various party leaders, such as a day earlier between Fazl and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and a telephone call today between the JUI-F chief and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, the Opposition agreed to step up the pressure on the government.

The government has been issuing statements to show it is undeterred by the Opposition alliance, with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry saying that protests are PDM’s “winter activity”.

In a post-cabinet meeting press conference earlier this week, Chaudhry said the Opposition would have to wait for a year or two, and after that, they would have to wait for another five years to come into power, as they have no programme and no leader.

Fazl, in his address today, claimed that due to rising inflation, people were setting up signs to put their children up for sale as they could not see them suffer. “Some parents are giving their children poison [to end their misery],” he added.

“I had said that this government had come into power by stealing votes; I had said that this government is incompetent and inept,” the Opposition alliance’s chief said.

Fazl said Pakistan’s survival would remain under threat if the incumbent government “is not drowned in the Arabian Sea”. “Revolution takes place where there is an economic crisis.”

The PDM chief said leaders “who bring about a nation’s demise, have no right to rule”. “The country’s labourers, shopkeepers, and professionals are all losing hope.”

He stressed that the political leadership should play their role during these pressing times and stand by the nation. He added that Pakistan was facing international isolation due to the government’s policies.

‘PDM does not want power’

PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in his address to the gathering, claimed the Opposition does not seek power, rather it seeks to end the rising inflation in the country.

“The incumbent government is making people suffer […] the only way to solve the country’s problems is to run it in line with the constitution and hold immediate free and fair elections,” he said.

The former prime minister said PDM only talks of upholding the constitution.

‘No country can run without constitution’

Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) President Mahmood Khan Achakzai said PDM was “not formed because we were all sitting free and just decided to”.

Achakzai said the country’s political parties had worked hard to form the constitution, and no country in the world can run without one.

All institutions in the red

Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan chief Shah Awais Noorani said all state institutions were incurring losses, as he lashed out at the government for the energy crisis.

“Federal ministers are saying that gas will be provided three times a day […] the country is undergoing electricity and gas loadshedding,” Noorani said, counting all the miseries the people are enduring.

Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar said a day earlier that the supply of gas will be ensured for domestic consumers during breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours amid a major gas shortfall in the country during the winter season.

Noorani said that PDM would hold an anti-government protest in Peshawar, then in Lahore, and following those, they will march towards Islamabad.

Parting ways with PDM ‘does not matter’

Meanwhile, at a press conference in Peshawar, Awami National Party’s (ANP) interim chief Ameer Haider Khan Hoti said in the coming days, his party would focus on local body’s elections and that they are currently “giving a tough time to Imran Khan”.

“It does not matter whether we are part of the PDM or not, a joint Opposition is all that matters,” he said.

Hoti said that the government had “fled” the joint parliament sitting, which was postponed hours before it was scheduled.

“Till now, two bills presented by the government have been rejected,” he added.

The Opposition defeated the government 117-104 on Tuesday after voting took place on a motion moved by PML-N MNA Javed Hasnain on a bill proposing that election candidates be prohibited from changing their symbols for a period of seven years. Subsequently, on a motion moved by PTI lawmaker Asma Qadeer seeking the introduction of a bill proposing the enhancement of punishment to those passing obnoxious remarks against women, the Opposition defeated the government once more.

‘You will not get breakfast if you wake up late’

Separately, Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani, taking a jibe at the government, said the ones who wake up late would not get breakfast, as he referred to Azhar’s statement of providing gas during breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours.

“Gas will not be provided for 24 hours in Pakistan […] the one who wakes up late will not get breakfast,” he said.

The provincial minister lamented that due to the incumbent government, the country had to witness “such a crisis”.

Speaking about PDM, he said the alliance was doing the same thing all over again, which PPP had done in the recent days — holding country-wide protests.

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