'Let them have their wish': PM says PDM's long march no threat to govt

Long march is being staged not for people but to hide corruption, premier says during cabinet meeting


Our Correpondent March 16, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan. PHOTO: PTI/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Imran Khan and several of his cabinet ministers on Tuesday sharply criticised the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), accusing the 11-party alliance of spreading chaos in the country to protect corruption of their leaderships.

Chairing a cabinet meeting, the prime minister invited the opposition leaders to sit across the table with the government for talks on electoral reforms if it was serious about the issues. He observed that the opposition posed no threat to the government.

“The PDM is spreading chaos [in the country] it poses no threat to government,” the prime minister told the ministers. “If the opposition is serious, it should negotiate electoral reforms in parliament,” he added.

Commenting the opposition’s [now-postponed] long march plans, Imran said that the “long march is not for the public” but to save their loot”. He added that the government was aware of the people’s problems and taking measures to redress them

Later, at a post-cabinet media briefing, Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry termed the PDM a group of “political orphans”. He added the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), would not support any call for resignation from assemblies.

Also read: ‘Ready to tender resignations if Nawaz returns’, Zardari says at PDM huddle

“It was ironic that Mahmood Achakzai, Aftab Sherpao and others, whose parties did not have members in the national and provincial legislatures and no stake or role in the system, were demanding resignations from assemblies,” he remarked.

“The PML-N and the PPP, being the big parties in the PDM would hopefully not favour any such rash demand as they knew the consequences. If they agree to do so, then it would be important to see how many legislators would follow their decision,” he added.

Soon after the cabinet meeting, the PDM announced the postponement of the proposed long march, which was scheduled for March 26. It also transpired after a summit meeting of the opposition alliance that parties were divided on the issue of resignation.

The PDM if finished,” tweeted Planning Minister Asad Umar after the opposition leaders’ press conference in the federal capital. “PPP averse to resigning. Maulana [Fazlur Rehman] averse to long march without resignations. Mian [Nawaz Sharif] Sahib averse to returning,” he said.

Commenting the outcome of the PDM summit meeting, the minister noted that the internal differences of the opposition came to the fore. “No ideology, no national thinking, only the pursuit of personal interests. They achieved nothing but failure,” he added.

Later, taking to a private TV channel, Umar said that the opposition was pretending unity among its ranks “just to save personal interests”. He added there was no consensus among the PDM except that to protect corruption of their leaderships.

The minister claimed that the PML-N and the PPP had no confidence in each other and both their leaderships were trying to use each other. “The opposition is not come out on the roads for the country’s larger interests.

In a separate interview with another private television channel, Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan predicted that PDM leaders would soon face disappointment in their propaganda campaign launched against the government.

“Mistrust and confusion among the leaders of PDM has been widening day by day,” she said. “[PDM President] Maulana Fazlur Rehman, is passing through a depression phase due to failure in PDM’s drive.

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