Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) president Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Wednesday said that elections for the Senate would be “fake” if they were conducted through the current provincial and national assemblies.
“Breaking the Senate electoral college is part of our democratic and constitutional struggle. We are working on a strategy for this and are [consulting] with constitutional experts”.
The PDM chief made the comments while speaking to the media in Islamabad alongside PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.
Rehman’s comments come a day after the opposition alliance announced that all national and provincial lawmakers belonging to its constituent parties will hand in resignations to the heads of their respective parties by Dec 31.
In response, the premier has said that if the opposition resigns from parliament, the government will go ahead with by-elections on the vacant seats.
Elections on half of the 104-member Senate seats are scheduled to be held in March next year and the ruling PTI, due to its majority in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assemblies, is expected to become the single largest party in the upper house of parliament, where the opposition currently enjoys a majority.
Earlier in November, the premier had vowed that the Senate elections — scheduled for March next year — would be held through “show of hands”, and not by secret ballot, to ensure transparency and eliminate “vote trading”.
Addressing today’s press conference, Rehman said that PDM’s next public meeting in Lahore on December 13 will happen at “any cost” even if the Punjab government had converted Minar-i-Pakistan into a “dam”.
“People from all over will come for the rally and Dec 13 will be a historic day,” he said, adding that if the government closed one door, the opposition would find another.
He said that the PDM’s steering committee will meet today to decide the schedule for different rallies and strikes as well as the long march to Islamabad. “We will keep talking about resignations and decide the strategy for when it is best throw them in their faces,” he said.
He maintained that the current system in the government was not democratic. “We don’t accept the government as democratic, constitutional or representative of the people, [yet] the establishment continues to safeguard it.
“If the establishment continues to safeguard such a government then how can it be called a democratic system?” he asked.
Speaking to the media, the PPP chairman said that the 11-party opposition alliance was on one page when it came to sending the government home.
Bilawal was responding to a question from a reporter regarding the resignation of opposition lawmakers considering the PPP is in power in Sindh.
“We had announced our struggle during the All Parties Conference and had said we will carry out rallies, protests and use all democratic and parliamentary options, which includes resignations.
“This is in front of you and we are taking that forward,” he said. He added that they will use every “weapon” necessary to send the current government packing.
Meanwhile, Maryam said that all the parties were united and will submit their resignations to the PDM leadership. “The rally will happen in Lahore and will take place at Minar-i-Pakistan,” she said.