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Saturday Nov 21 2020

Time to 'remove Pakistan's Trump', says PDM chief Fazlur Rehman ahead of Peshawar rally

Chief of the Opposition's Pakistan Democratic Movement Fazlur Rehman addressing a press conference in Peshawar on November 21, 2020. — Geo News

Chief of the Opposition's Pakistan Democratic Movement Fazlur Rehman on Saturday said that the time has come for "Pakistan's Trump" to be "removed" from office.

"One Trump [has left office], we will send the Pakistani Trump packing," he said, referring to US President Donald Trump's failure to win a second term in office and the Opposition's aim to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Addressing a press conference in Peshawar, where a rally in defiance of all government warnings is due to be held tomorrow by the 11-party  alliance, Rehman said: "This government is the representative of a stolen mandate. It is not the representative of the people."

"A historic rally will take place tomorrow in Peshawar," he vowed, adding that the next rally will be held on November 26 in Larkana which his party, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl), will host.

Fazlur Rehman said that the Opposition will not allow the government to rest at any juncture in the movement. He said another rally will take place on November 30 in Multan.

Speaking of the government's warnings against holding rallies, he said that they found no other excuse, so started raising a hue and cry about the spread of coronavirus.

"This illegitimate government itself is a big corona," he said, adding: "While we talk about COVID-19, we should also shed light upon COVID-18."

The PDM chief said that the Opposition's campaign against the government has reached its peak and that the organisational structure of the movement is now complete.

He said that the country's situation can be assessed by looking at Peshawar's Bus Rapid Transit.

Read more: 'Dhakka start': Passengers push Peshawar BRT bus after it breaks down

"We represent every school of thought and every section of the country," Fazlur Rehman claimed.

Referring to a State Bank of Pakistan report stating that the country's GDP growth had plunged to 0.4%, he said that due to the financial crisis, the country's very existence is at stake.

PDM not backing down

The Opposition has decided it will push ahead with the Peshawar jalsa at Dalazak Road, Ring Road Chowk despite the city administration denying permission for a gathering there.

A notification issued on Friday by the Peshawar deputy commissioner's office said the matter was considered by the district administration and capital city police under Section 14 of the KP Civil Administration Act 2020. The government officials did a field assessment and held a meeting with the rally organisers.

Citing a November 2 notification issued by the KP government banning large public gatherings owing to the rising coronavirus positivity rate in the province, the deputy commissioner denied permission to hold the rally "after considering all aspects, and to safeguard human lives due to potential spread of COVID-19."

However, the PDM is not ready to back down. Its media coordinator, Abdul Jalil Jan, said the rally will be held as planned on November 22.

He added that they will not tolerate any sort of ban from the Peshawar district administration. Jan said holding the rally is their fundamental right under the Constitution and law.

Speaking to Geo News, PML-N provincial chief Amir Muqam said the opposition parties did not need permission to hold the rally. "We will strictly follow COVID-19 SOPs. If Imran Khan really cared about the country, we would not be out on the streets."

Furthermore, PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah told the media on Thursday that the Opposition is not ready for any negotiation with the government,

There will be a rally in Lahore on December 13, he added, calling the government’s “propaganda” a failure.

Government's efforts to prevent Peshawar rally

Meanwhile, the government is making efforts to stop the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) from holding the rally in Peshawar on Sunday amid the worsening situation of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

PM Imran Khan accused opposition leaders of "playing reckless politics with people's safety".

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Health Taimur Saleem Jhagra warned that the number of infections can triple-fold in the second wave. Jhagra said the government was not opposed to the opposition's jalsa but keeping in view the spike in coronavirus case the public should decide whether the political gathering should take place or not.

Special Assistant to KP CM on Information Kamran Bangash said: "If the cases rise, we will hold opposition responsible and take action against them."

Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar said he has requested National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser to call a meeting of the NA body on coronavirus to stop the Opposition’s rally.

Umar has asked Qaiser to find a solution in which political activity may continue, but the safety of the public is also ensured.