By Hamza Ameer
Karachi, Oct 19 | Just two days after its debut power show, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance comprising 11 of the country’s opposition parties, staged its second public rally in the port city of Karachi.
The rally was held on Sunday evening at the Bagh-i-Jinnah, where leaders of the opposition parties shared the stage and called on people to intensify the anti-government movement, which they said would soon yield fruit in the ouster of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The gathering was addressed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who has been appointed as the alliance’s first phase chief, among others.
However, former Prime Minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was not given the opportunity to give an address the rally through video link, like he did during the PDM’s first power show on October 16 in Gujranwala city.
Sunday’s event also coincided with the 13th anniversary of the October 18, 2007 attack on the homecoming procession of late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Karachi that killed more than 200 people.
The speakers lashed out at Prime Minister Khan for lacking the mandate to rule the country and for what they called sheer bad governance, causing serious hardships to the countrymen due to the ruined state of the economy.
“We would not become afraid of threats of imprisonment by the incumbent puppet rulers of the country. In the past also, we have not been frightened by the Karsaz bomb blasts,” said Bhutto-Zardari.
“The incompetent and ineligible Prime Minister had to be sent packing as during his regime, innocent citizens were being killed and incidents of enforced disappearances continued. Ailing citizens were unable to buy medicines due to sheer price-hike.
“Economy of the country had been ruined during the present government owing to the sheer inefficiency of the present rulers,” he added.
The PPP Chairman said the current rulers assumed power not by votes but on the directions of someone else, hinting towards the powerful military establishment.
“The movement of the PDM was aimed at restoring sovereignty of the people in the country in accordance with the Constitution. “
In her address, Maryam Nawaz said that Khan’s responsive speech to Gujranwala public gathering showed that he was under immense pressure and had become mentally upset.
“Every word of the speech of Imran Khan and his body language had shown that he had become afraid and people wanted to see the same frightened Imran Khan. Imran Khan’s latest speech had shown that he lacked training to conduct in a graceful manner while being under pressure.
“On the one hand, the electronic media had been banned from covering the speech of Nawaz Sharif via video-link but on the other hand, it seemed that Imran Khan had secretly listened to the former premier’s speech” she added.
The PML-N Vice President said the incumbent government instead of fulfilling its promises to build houses and give employment to the people, had rendered people jobless and they had also been deprived of their livelihood.
“The PDM’s movement would continue till the time the supremacy of Constitution and law would be fully restored along with the independence of the media and judiciary.”
Akhtar Mengal, Chairman of the Balochistan National Party, slammed the government for failing to bring any respite, relief to the families of the missing persons of his province, who he said had been continuing with their protest drive.
“Gas and electricity had become expensive in the country but the lives of people of Balochistan had become too cheap and many of them mercilessly killed without any sin.
“Such a democratic order should be restored in the country where smaller nationalities of the Federation were given maximum autonomy as had been promised to them at the time of the creation of Pakistan,” he added.
Meanwhile, JMaulana Fazlur Rehman said the struggle of the alliance against the government would continue until complete democracy is restored in the country.
“The present rulers lacked both aptitude or eligibility to rule the country. The government had done compromise on the Kashmir issue in total disregard to the sacrifices by the Kashmiri people,” he added.
The PDM is now scheduled to hold its third rally in Quetta on October 25, which will be followed by the fourth in Peshawar on November 22, fifth in Multan on November 30 and the last one in Lahore on December 13.