ISLAMABAD The opposition alliance of nine political parties – the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – on Monday announced a countrywide protest drive from October 20 against the skyrocketing inflation, and decided not to interfere in “government matters” vis-à-vis the delay in notification about appointment of a new chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
A meeting of the PDM, headed by its president Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman and attended by top leadership from the component parties, discussed the current political situation, which included high inflation as a result of recent increases in petroleum prices and power tariffs.
Shehbaz Sharif, the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Maryam Nawaz, the party’s vice president, joined the meeting via video link, while the leaders of the other opposition political parties in the coalition were physically present.
Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, the president of the PDM and the head of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), told reporters after the meeting that the meeting endorsed the alliance’s earlier decision to launch a “effective” countrywide protest drive against the government, noting that people are suffering from high inflation.
PDM postpones meeting
He said that the provincial leadership of every component party under the umbrella of the PDM has been instructed to immediately nominate coordinators and start preparations for the protest drive to oversee and organise “effective” rallies across the country.
He said that the PDM would lead the people in the countrywide rallies, who are suffering due to the skyrocketing inflation. When asked, whether the meeting also discussed the option of holding a long march, he said that there would be step-by-step anti-government campaigns, starting with the rallies, strikes and “ultimately the situation would lead to a long march”.
To another question about the PDM’s point of view about the alleged standoff with regard to the notification of a new ISI chief, Maulana said: “PDM is not interfering into any governmental matter. The PDM only seeks a democratic and constitutional setup in the country, and it has focussed its energies only on its objective.”
He said that the meeting rejected the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 and declared that the NAB is an institution, which is a remnant of a dictator and “it has always been used as a tool for political victimisation of the opponents. There has been no expectation of accountability from this institution”. The PDM, once again, rejected the proposed electoral reforms introduced by the PTI government.