PDM should march to Aabpara Chowk: Bilawal

PPP chief said opposition must confront PTI’s govt at all platforms

Z Ali January 03, 2021
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. PHOTO: FILE


PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has suggested that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – an 11-party opposition alliance – should stage a sit-in at Islamabad’s Aabpara Chowk instead of marching to Rawalpindi as suggested by PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

“We have been to Rawalpindi when we held our December 27 public meeting [at the death anniversary of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto] in 2019. We have no objection at all to going back to Pindi.

“But I think that [Prime Minister] Imran Khan’s sit-in [in 2014] was staged at Aabpara Chowk. The PDM should also consider marching to Aabpara Chowk,” Bilawal said on Sunday.

The PPP chief – addressing a press conference in Sindh’s Thatta district on Sunday – was responding to a journalist who had asked him to comment on Maulana Fazl’s recent statement.

Addressing the media after a PDM meeting in Lahore on Friday, Fazl said the opposition would decide if it should march to Islamabad – the citadel of the country’s political government – or to Rawalpindi, where the headquarters of the Pakistan Army are located.

“All parties [in the 11-party opposition alliance] agree that the establishment has held the system of the country hostage and created a deep state,” the Mualana had said. Interestingly, the headquarters of Pakistan's top spy agency is located at Islamabad Aabpara Chowk.

Bilawal pointed out that PPP’s central executive committee, which met on December 29, endorsed all decisions of the PDM about the PM’s resignation and resignations by the opposition lawmakers.

The PDM – formed in September last year with the avowed aim to dislodge the PTI government –concluded the first phase of its anti-government campaign in December after holding six rallies.

On December 14, the PDM announced that all lawmakers from the opposition parties would submit their resignations from the assembly seats to their respective party leadership by December 31. It had also set a deadline for the government to quit by January 31.

The PPP chief said the PDM should confront the PTI’s government at all platforms including the judiciary, the parliament and on the roads.

He also condemned the terrorist attack in Balochistan in which innocent coal mine workers were killed. However, he held Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid’s preoccupation with the PDM leadership and his alleged lack of focus on his own ministry responsible for the incident.

“We not only condemn but also demand that the National Action Plan (NAP), which the government has forgotten, should be implemented. There has been no implementation on NAP since the PTI came into power in July 2018.”

To a question, he said a national dialogue can only be considered as an option if Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government resign. He said the PDM has never demanded or struggled for any relief. 

“Our demands are for democracy, for level playing field, for reducing inflation and poverty.”

He said the PDM has emerged as a real and organic platform of the opposition parties against which the undemocratic forces are spreading propaganda. He lamented that only the rich classes in the country are being provided financial relief.

“Recently he [Imran Khan] increased amnesty for the construction mafia and tax amnesty for the rich and for the stock exchanges’ brokers with billions of rupees in bailout. But for peasants, labourers, poor people and small traders, they aren’t ready to give relief.”

Commenting on the shortage of gas in Sindh and Balochistan, he said the two provinces are the largest producers of gas but they are being denied their constitutional right of first use.

“A puppet regime is created to rob your rights. The NFC [National Finance Commission] award, provincial autonomy and the BISP [Benazir Income Support Programme] remain under attack.”

He blamed the PM Khan for not being able to offer solutions to the country’s problems.

“He cannot increase salary and pension or reduce inflation and the utility bills. If he can’t do this all he should resign and allow the country to elect a PM who can address these problems.”

Bilawal said the negative growth rate and inflation in Pakistan have surpassed Bangladesh and Afghanistan even though the country has the potential to perform much better. He again appealed to the people to support the PDM to oust Khan’s government.



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