Saturday Nov 06 2021

March against inflation to culminate in long march to Islamabad, PDM decides

Maulana Fazlur Rehman (C), leader of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an anti-government alliance of opposition parties, stands with other leaders during an anti-Government rally in Karachi on August 29, 2021. — AFP/File
Maulana Fazlur Rehman (C), leader of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an anti-government alliance of opposition parties, stands with other leaders during an anti-Government rally in Karachi on August 29, 2021. — AFP/File

  • PDM's anti-inflation protests to begin from Karachi on Nov 13.
  • Next protests to take place in Quetta on Nov 17, Peshawar Nov 20.
  • PDM mulls joining hands with PPP to stop electoral reforms.

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Saturday decided to hold several anti-inflation protests across the country, which will culminate in the long march towards Islamabad.

The Opposition alliance held a virtual meeting in which it decided to hold protests in Karachi on November 13, in Quetta on Nov 17, and in Peshawar on Nov 20, sources informed Geo News.

Joining hands with PPP?

PDM has decided to convene another meeting of the alliance's top brass on November 11 — right after the joint parliament session, which will take place on November 10.

The government has summoned the session on November 10 with a view to pass 18 bills.

The bills are related to granting overseas Pakistanis the right to vote, e-voting and the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Earlier this year, PPP had parted ways with the Opposition alliance, but now, PDM is mulling to join hands with the party to stop the government from passing the electoral reforms bills in the parliament, sources said.

The meeting's participants also rejected the recently promulgated National Accountability (Third Amendment) Ordinance 2021 and vowed to ensure complete attendance in the parliament's joint sitting to stop the government from passing its desired bills.

Other matters

PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif briefed the meeting on his talks with Opposition leaders.

The PDM leadership also discussed the petrol price hike and rising inflation, and how to strengthen PDM's country-wide protests.

PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith (MJAH) president Senator Prof Sajid Mir, and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai had joined the meeting via video link.

Condemnations, decisions, plans

In a statement after the meeting, Abbasi confirmed the date of the Karachi, Quetta, and Peshawar marches, adding that another rally would be held in Lahore, which would be the last one before the long march.

The former prime minister said the meeting's participants had condemned the jacking up of the prices of sugar, gas, electricity, wheat, ghee, medicines, and other essential goods and services.

"The main reason behind rising inflation is Imran Khan's historic corruption," he said, adding that the meeting demanded the agreement with the International Monetary Fund be made public.

"The so-called electoral reforms are a bigger fraud than the 2018 general elections," he said, adding that the meeting's participants had vowed to foil all the government's "conspiracies".

The meeting's participants also decided that overseas Pakistanis should be given representation in the parliament.

Shahbaz has been given the responsibility to organise protests in consultation with all Opposition parties, Abbasi said.

The meeting demanded action against those involved in "rigging" the Daska by-polls, Abbasi said, adding that the report on the by-election "proved that the imposed lot stole votes".

Shahbaz, Bilawal discuss strategy against PTI

On Friday, Bilawal and Shahbaz discussed the government decision to hike petrol prices across the country.

Shahbaz called the PPP chairman to discuss the inflationary situation in the country and discussed a joint strategy against the government.

Bilawal criticised the prime minister, saying that he had offered a "lollipop" of relief to the masses before hiking petrol prices. With each passing day, the government is increasing the problems of people, he added.

He said those who increased the ghee price by 110% in three years, gave 30% relief to the masses. Electricity prices have increased by 60% in three years and today, Imran Khan is announcing a 30% relief package.

He said that the price of sugar has risen by 80% in three years, adding that Imran Khan’s relief package was not for the people but for a few families.