The Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) lawmakers from national and provincial assemblies will submit their resignations to their respective party leaders on December 31, the 11-party alliance’s chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said Monday.
The development comes a day after the PDM held a massive rally in Lahore.
“Today, we want to make it clear: The government should resign till January 31. If it does not, then the [PDM leadership] will announce a long-march on February 1,” Fazl said as he addressed a press conference along with PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto.
However, Fazl said that the final date for the long-march, despite the February 1 announcement, said that a date for it would be finalised later.
The PDM chief appealed to the people to start preparing for the long march. Fazl said that following yesterday’s successful public rally, the 11-party alliance has signed on a joint statement.
“The schedules issued to the provinces by the steering committee will remain intact,” he said.
‘PM Imran under pressure’
Furthermore, the PDM chief said that the alliance’s leaders and the steering committee members would hold meetings with the party leaders of their respective provinces.
Fazl said that “history would remember Lahore’s jalsa, just like it remembers the one held in the same place in 1940,” he said.
Responding to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement of not giving an NRO to the Opposition, Fazl said: “He is making such statements as he is under pressure.”
Fazl said that the leaders had signed an agreement similar to that of the Charter of Democracy Pakistan — that was signed by PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto on May 14, 2006, in London.
Meanwhile, Maryam said that some “media houses were spreading false reports” and that she had appreciated her party leaders for their works that had led to a “successful” Lahore jalsa.
The PML-N vice-president, claiming that she was disappointed at her party leadership for keeping the venue small, said that the people had to listen to the PDM leaders from outside the ground.
“I have not seen such a jalsa in my life, that despite such cold weather, even chairs were not visible […] People were standing and hearing the party leaders,” she said.
“I have never seen such a jalsa where people had participated with such enthusiasm,” Maryam said, adding: “Despite government’s tactics [the audience was huge].”
Maryam said that the government, after getting reports from the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), must be “bawling” over the attendance that of yesterday’s public rally.
‘Time for talking over’
Moreover, Bilawal, responding to a question, said that the 11 parties were on the same and that the decision would be made through consultations.
Bilawal reiterated that the time for talking was over and that now, it was PM Imran Khan’s time to submit his resignation. “The senior party leaders have their own opinions, but once the party makes a decision, they abide by it.”
The top leadership of the PDM met at Jati Umrah, Raiwind to decide what’s next for the Opposition’s anti-government campaign. JUI-F chief Fazl chaired the meeting that had started at around 2pm.
Meanwhile, according to the agreement that the 11-party alliance has signed, the PDM has pledged to work together for the guaranteeing political, economic, and social rights of the people of Pakistan.
“[The PDM wants to] create a Pakistan where the sanctity of the Constitution takes precedence, all administrative bodies of the state are subject to an elected administration and parliament, which is the source of national policymaking,” the agreement said.
The agreement aspired for an independent judiciary, freedom of expression of the media, accountability for all the elected bodies, and for the people to have the right to elect and dismiss their representatives.
The agreement reiterated the Opposition’s statement that the people — especially the poor and youth — were suffering from the “worst inflation” as the due incumbent government and its “facilitators”.
Shedding light on the solution to take Pakistan out of the “crisis”, the agreement said that it was imperative to get rid of the “hybrid and selected system”.
“The system should be abolished immediately and a truly representative government should be established in the country through free, fair, and transparent elections,” it said.
Responding to PDM’s announcement, planning minister Asad Umar said that he became terrified when the 11-party alliance had asked the government on January 31.
“I was afraid that if PM Imran Khan were sitting near a TV, he would start laughing and fall of his chair,” Umar said, as he took a jibe at the PDM.
The planning minister, commenting that the Opposition leaders were distressed during their press conference, said that he felt like they had experienced a serious setback.
‘Islamabad, we are coming’
A day earlier, the PDM had announced a long march to Islamabad by late January or early February. The announcement came during a rally at Lahore’s Minar-e-Pakistan on Sunday, hosted by the PML-N.
Even though the organisers of the jalsa had asked the attendees to reach the venue at 2pm, hundreds of supports gathered there early on despite the cold weather, enthusiastically chanting slogans, carrying flags, and warming up the atmosphere.
Top leaders, including Maryam, Bilawal, Fazl, Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai, and Qaumi Watan Party chairman Aftab Sherpao, addressed the jalsa.