PDM rejects ‘unconstitutional’ EVMs

Ex-PM Abbasi says govt wants to “steal” elections through its proposed reforms


Our Correpondent August 21, 2021
PML-N's Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addresses a news conference in Islamabad. SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Wednesday maintained that the PTI government's “unilateral” electoral reforms, including the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), were “unconstitutional”.

Speaking to the media after a meeting of the opposition alliance’s steering committee held at the PML-N secretariat in Islamabad, PML-N Senior Vice President Shahid Khaqan Abbasi claimed that the government wanted to “steal” the elections through its proposed reforms.

The PDM meeting, chaired by PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, also decided to issue a white paper on the PTI government’s three-year performance to expose its "corruption, political persecution and the flawed accountability process".

The alliance finalised the schedule of its nationwide anti-government movement, starting with a rally in Karachi on 29th of this month.

It also formed a committee to fulfill the agenda of the Charter of Pakistan. Abbasi said welcoming Taliban rule in Afghanistan was JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and his party’s personal decision, and did not reflect the policy of the opposition alliance.

“We believe that the government should take parliament into confidence for its policy on the Taliban. The policy should be chalked out through parliament.”

He said the constituent parties of the PDM would present their recommendations and suggestions during the alliance’s summit in Karachi on August 28 for final approval.

“The PDM will stage a rally in Karachi on 29th,” he added.

Also read: PDM Rahbar Committee meets to revive anti-govt movement

The former premier said the agenda of PDM was to run the country under the Constitution and law. “All institutions should work within their constitutional limits.”

He also maintained that the government was placing curbs on the media.

“We reject the government's efforts to curtail media freedom.”

A day earlier, a PML-N leader told The Express Tribune that all parties would present their suggestions on how to resuscitate the PDM.

He added the suggestions that all would agree on would then be placed before the leadership meeting.

“It’s even important for the PML-N at this stage for this movement to gain momentum. PDM rallies can also set the tone for the general election campaign, so it would be equivalent to a head start.”

Also read: PDM rejects electoral reforms, AJK results

The PML- N leader said it was too early to predict if party president Shehbaz Sharif would participate in the Karachi rally.

JUI-F leader Moulana Amjad Khan said his party, which was a constituent of the PDM, would suggest during the meeting to continue holding rallies.

“It can be either one or two rallies after the Karachi rally or a string of rallies, whatever is agreed on. 

However, he added, it was yet to be seen what other parties had in mind.

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