Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has declared the opposition parties’ struggle against the PTI government a jihad – a holy war – and claimed that now it will be a sin to turn one’s back on this sacred mission.
“What we are doing through the PDM is commonly referred to as a movement when in fact it is a jihad-e-sharee [jihad as warranted by the sharia]. Struggling against this [PTI] government is a jihad and turning one’s backs on it will be a sin,” the Maulana said on Sunday.
Fazl was addressing a huge rally organized by the 11-party opposition alliance in Bahawalpur district.
The JUI-F chief on Friday warned the military establishment that the PDM instead of marching to Islamabad could decide marching to Rawalpindi, where the headquarters of the Pakistan Army is located. And at the Bahawalpur rally on Sunday he reiterated that warning.
According to Fazl, the Pakistan Army should make it clear whether it backs Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government as he claims, so that the PDM may direct its movement towards the military establishment.
“This country is not a property of any dictator or any particular institution. It is also not under anyone’s occupation. This country belongs to its people,” he added.
He said the PDM consists of different parties with different points of views and different opinions and it is natural to have a difference of opinion regarding its roadmap. “However, we all are on the same page regarding the PTI led government and believe that it needs to go.”
Rejecting the claims that the PDM is disintegrating particularly after its Friday announcement to participate in the upcoming by-polls, the PDM chief said the alliance will keep making small adjustments. “Sometimes cards would be shown; sometimes we will hold them close to our chests.”
The Maulana said all PDM leaders are mature political leaders unlike Prime Minister Imran Khan, who, according to him, cannot even walk without the establishment's crutches.
“Imran Khan is a kind of leader, who does not even know how to give a statement. First he claimed that he was unprepared when he came to power in 2018 but later he retracted this statement claiming that it was misconstrued,” he added.
He said a government cannot run the state by stealing the public mandate. “This illegitimate and selected government has tanked the economy leaving it behind all the countries of the region. Imran Khan has also isolated the country on the diplomatic front.”
Fazl said the growth rate projections came down from 6.5% of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s tenure to 0.4%. These people sold Kashmir to India. They betrayed Kashmiris, he added.
He said the PDM will hold rallies on February 5 throughout the country to expose this Kashmir-selling government. He said it was Imran Khan who first proposed the idea of dividing Kashmir into three parts. It was Imran Khan who prayed for Narendra Modi’s success in Indian polls.
According to the PDM chief, the foreign funding case would expose that the PTI received large sums from the Ahmadis’ lobby through Israel. “This was the reason why I have been calling him [Imran Khan] an agent,” he added.
He said the PDM would hold a rally in Karachi on January 21 to show solidarity with people of Kashmir and to reject Israel. “The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is constantly delaying the foreign funding case. We would be holding a protest outside the ECP on January 19.”
Addressing the rally, PML-N de facto president Maryam Nawaz said this government would collapse the day the PDM parties submit their resignations.
On December 14, the PDM announced that all lawmakers from the opposition parties would submit their resignations from the assembly seats to their party leadership by December 31. It had also set a deadline for the government to quit by January 31.
Maryam said the people are in agony due to price hikes, inflation and joblessness. To compound their miseries, the government has announced that prices of electricity would be hiked by 25%. “Prices of staple food have gone through the roof,” she said.
The PML-N vice president asked the people if inflation, flood of joblessness, selling of Kashmir, trading of national interest, expensive electricity and gas, robbery of Rs122 billion in LNG, sugar and wheat scams and hike in medicine prices, was the change the PTI had promised.
“The selected and the selectors are frightened because they know that things change when Punjab – the most populous province – wakes up,” she added. A PPP delegation, led by former premier Yousaf Raza Gillani, also participated in the rally.