Monday Dec 06, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Monday decided to hold an "anti-inflation march" in the Federal Capital on March 23 — Pakistan Day — in light of the "government's failures" on several fronts.
PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, addressing a press conference after a summit of the party chiefs, said: "People from across the country will gather in Islamabad. A huge protest will be held in the [capital] against inflation."
PDM's provincial chapters will hold meetings to prepare for the march, he said. In Punjab, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif will call a meeting, Fazl will hold a meeting in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) President Mahmood Khan Achakzai in Balochistan, while JUI-P President Shah Owais Noorani will hold a meeting in Sindh.
"A seminar will also be held. But before that, I will meet the lawyers' committee — Supreme Court Bar Association and Pakistan Bar Council — and hold consultations," he said.
The PDM chief said the seminar's date will be finalised after consultations not only with lawyers but civil society, business, and other communities as well so that they can be taken into confidence over the alliance's motives.
Fazl said that the alliance had a "unanimous policy" over the resignations of lawmakers from assemblies, but PDM would decide when is the right time to "use this card".
Responding to a question about the date of the protest, he said: "We are also a part of the nation. The nation owns the state, and Islamabad is the place to resolve commoners' problem."
"Frist see what happens on March 23 and then wait and watch," he said when asked whether the march would be held for a day or would it continue over a prolonged period.
To a reporter's question on boycotting from the assemblies' sessions and seeking PPP and ANP's help, Fazl said matters which are highlighted in the media might not necessarily be discussed in PDM's meetings.
All the meeting's participants condemned the Sialkot incident, noting that no card allows anyone to resort to violence and take the law into their hands.
"Such incidents should be curbed, and it cannot be appreciated in any manner," he added.
A Sri Lankan national and a manager at a factory in Sialkot, Diyawadanage Don Nandasri Priyantha, was lynched by hundreds of people, including workers from the factory on Friday.
Reiterating that the 2018 general elections were "rigged", the PDM chief said that as a result of those polls, a government was formed without the "mandate of the people."
"A government which came into existence through rigging [...] is facing failure, but the people are bearing the brunt of it in the form of inflation, poverty, unemployment, and restlessness," he said.
Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed, responding to the PDM's announcement, termed it "immoral and irresponsible". He said Pakistan Army holds a traditional parade on March 23.
"Masses and foreign ambassadors will partake in the parade [...] the security is also on high-alert in the Federal Capital due to the parade," the interior minister said.
The interior minister said that the several routes are closed for two or three days due to security arrangements made for the parade, adding that holding the march on Pakistan Day will not be beneficial for the country.
Rasheed also suggested PDM hold the march in April.