Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday told the constituent parties of the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to resign from the national and provincial assemblies en masse if they wanted to.
“If you [PDM] want to resign from the assemblies, then you can make that decision in your meeting on December 8. Who’s stopping you,” the minister said while addressing a news conference in Multan. “It [PDM] is an unnatural and temporary alliance of parties with no ideological similarities. They are just together to protect themselves.”
Qureshi’s statement came in the wake of the alliance announcing that it would make a “do or die” decision in its December 8 meeting to send the PTI government packing and review all options including resigning from the assemblies.
The foreign minister said the PDM was putting lives at risk for personal gains by staging rallies as Covid-19 was spreading rapidly in the country with each passing day and the situation could become worse in January.
He urged the opposition parties to review their decision to holding public gatherings keeping in view the rising number of coronavirus patients.
He added that the opposition had adopted dual standards on the issue of Covid-19.
The minister said the PDM should not have staged its rally in Multan a week ago and its leadership should have taken the safety of the people into consideration. However, he added, the city’s administration should not have barred the opposition parties from staging their public gathering.
“In my opinion there was no need for the containers [barriers],” he added.
Qureshi rejected allegations that there was crackdown on opposition activities before the Multan rally. He also said the PML-N leadership appeared to be in a state of confusion party as its vice president Maryam Nawaz and president Shehbaz Sharif were giving contradictory statements.
He minister pointed out that the second wave of coronavirus was more dangerous against the first one and it could affect everyone if standard operating procedures (SOPS) were not followed.
Separately, Information Minister Shibli Faraz maintained that Maryam Nawaz’s “incoherent” speech at her party’s social media workers convention in Lahore reflected her state of confusion and mental disarray.
“A political leader who has conscience and feels for the people cannot even think of flouting the coronavirus guidelines,” he noted.
“People have seen how the ongoing efforts of international organisations, the government and the media in the fight against the pandemic were ridiculed at the PML-N social media workers convention. This is condemnable and bringing embarrassment to the country at the international level.”
The minister maintained that political gatherings were acting as super spreaders of coronavirus.
"Current statistics on coronavirus are worrisome. Political gatherings are becoming a major cause of the rise in coronavirus infections,” he claimed.
“Coronavirus cases and death rate have grown exponentially in Multan and Peshawar after the PDM held public gatherings in those cities.”
The minister said holding such gatherings was tantamount to ridiculing the law and the SOPs.
“Opposition leaders have quarantined themselves in the comfort of their homes, whereas political activists and the general public are being used as fuel to protect personal and political interests,” he added.
“How long will the opposition continue playing with the lives of the people? Those who have lost their loved ones due to coronavirus will never forgive them [PDM].”
(With input from APP)
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