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Pakistan Democratic Alliance kicks off Lahore power show at Greater Iqbal Ground

Hosted by anti-government alliance’s main component party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz

Islamabad: The Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM), an 11-party opposition alliance on Sunday concluded the first phase of its mass agitation and public protest against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government by holding a huge public meeting at the historical Minar-e-Pakistan or Greater Iqbal Ground in Lahore.

The public rally was hosted and organized by the anti-government alliance’s main component party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) which is considered the province’s biggest political force with Lahore as its stronghold.

The venue was adorned with huge portraits of the PDM leaders and various parties’ flags.

Earlier, the PDM has held rallies in Gujranwala, Karachi, Peshawar, Multan and Quetta and Lahore rally is being seen as the culmination of all the previous rallies.

Main focus

Apart from the young chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Vice President of the PML-N and daughter of the party’s supremo Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz was the main focus of the audience as well as national and international media.https://ad97b15d0a6d8d0b8ed0db86158898df.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

She had claimed the Lahore rally to be the biggest-ever in the history of the city and a “referendum against Imran Khan’s government.”

In their address, both Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari ruled out negotiation with the PM Imran Khan government and called upon their workers to wait for their ‘final call.’

However, TV footage and interviews of independent analysts showed it was indeed a big show of power by the PDM but not the ‘biggest-ever.’

President of the PDM and Chief of his party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), Maulana Fazlur Rehman, veteran politician Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Head of the Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Mehmood Khan Achakzai, and Khawaja Saad Rafique also addressed on the occasion and ‘exposed’ failures of the PTI-government one by one.

Imran Khan they said had backtracked on all his promises made with the people prior to the 2018 general elections.

“Neither 5 million houses were constructed nor 10 million jobs were created, rather the poor and the working classes were put under huge financial constraint by increasing prices of the necessary food items and utility bills,” they said.

They also mentioned scams of sugar, wheat flour, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), medicines and 10 billion tsunami trees’ projects during the current government’s tenure.

Transparent investigation

Prime Minister Imran Khan has lost moral, legal and political ground to continue since those responsible for these scams are members of his cabinet.

They called for their transparent investigation into these scams and criticized the government for using the anti-graft agency National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as a tool against the political rivals.

Both the government ministers and the PDM leadership gave conflicting reports of the public gathered at the PDM’s Lahore rally.

According to the PML-N’s local leadership and organizers of the event, 100,000 to 150,000 people had come despite chilly weather, freezing cold and coronavirus scare.

On the other hand, the PTI federal and the provincial ministers termed it a ‘failed show.’ Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid in a statement said the PDM despite all its efforts and Maryam Nawaz’s personal focus could not gather more than 5,000 workers in the Minar-e-Pakistan ground.

Punjab Chief Minister’s aide on information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan also termed it a ‘lackluster’ show that did not match the claims of Maryam Nawaz.

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