24 October 2020
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What: The 11-party anti-government alliance called the Pakistan Democratic Movement is staging its second rally in Karachi Sunday. Where: Karachi ‘s Jinnah BaghWho: PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz, JUI-F’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PPP’s Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Please refresh your browser to get the latest updates or head over to our live Twitter feed…Live updates

Bilawal Bhutto: we have a debt

“I am not afraid of bombs, I will be with my people,” said Bilawal Bhutto, opening his speech with reference to the anniversary of the October 18, 2007 attack on Benazir Bhutto’s homecoming convoy. “We have a debt of their blood,” he said. One hundred and eighty people were killed on that day and over 500 others were injured.He went on to dwell on the differences between the Sindh government and Federal government over the Pakistan Island Development Authority. “If you don’t take this ordinance back by Wednesday,” he said, then a resolution will be passed to throw it out. These islands could not be sold as they belonged to the fishermen of Karachi who earned their livelihood from them.

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“If you don’t allow us to speak, we’ll come out on to the streets,” he said. You can jail us, but how many people will you put in jail? He also addressed censorship, adding that even TikTok had banned. “But how will you ban a hungry child crying? How will you ban the anger of a jobless young man?”
“You threaten us with jail and NAB? We’re standing at Karsaz. When bombs didn’t deter us, you think NAB will?” He told the story of PPP supporter Nasir Baloch who was hanged during Zia ul Haq’s time. “Comrades, I’m going to the hangman’s noose, why is there silence?” he asked. Then the whole jail thundered with slogans of ‘Jiye Bhutto’.
He told the story of PPP’s Ayaz Sammo who was sentenced by a military court. “If Bhutto can go to the gallows, so can Ayaz,” were his words, recounted Bilawal.

Maryam Nawaz thanks Karachi

“When I came to Karachi today, I thought of Benazir Bhutto,” said Maryam Nawaz. “I met her once, for three hours, in Saudi Arabia. She ate with me. She spoke to me lovingly like a mother.”
She thanked Karachi for a warm welcome, and commiserated with the Sindh government over its tussles with the federal government. She congratulated Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah for his work on COVID.
She was critical of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech a day earlier. “One person screamed and screamed as he self-flagellated over his own ineptitude,” she said. “There was just one jalsa so far, in Gujranwala. And you panicked. You’ve lost your sense and mental balance.”
She was critical of the way Imran Khan had spoken about Nawaz Sharif. When Imran Khan protested in Islamabad, Nawaz Sharif did not use inappropriate language for him, she added.
She said that political enemies who stood against each other could do it with respect. Before Benazir Bhutto was assasinated, she and my father grew close, as a brother and sister, said Maryam. And today, Bilawal and I, their children, will maintain that relationship.
Maryam Nawaz then criticised the censoring of her father’s speech in Gujranwala, which was not aired by many television channels. “If what Nawaz Sharif said was so wrong, why did you censor the speech?” she said. “If you are unable to allow the people to hear his speech, then you do not have the right to comment on it.”She said that she, her father, the PML-N, the people of Pakistan, the Opposition had just as much a right to say the Pakistan Army was theirs as did Imran Khan. “Who made you the spokesman for the army,” she asked. The army does not belong to one person.
We salute all the martyrs, the jawans who laid down their lives for our Pakistan and their families who gave the ultimate sacrifice, Maryam Nawaz went on to add. We salute the majors, the colonels, the major generals, the brigadiers, but we cannot salute any boot that tramples a vote, she said.

By about 10pm, Sardar Akhtar Mengal spoke. He referred to coverage of the first PDM jalsa in Gujranwala where workers and supporters were filmed eating in the stadium. “Some TV channels were mocking workers for eating qeemay-wallay naan,” he said. “I request Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to order Papa John’s pizza for workers next time.” He went on to say: I am ready to salute you, only if you hold yourself accountable for the bloodshed in Balochistan. He also referred to the fight between the Sindh government and Islamabad over the Pakistan Islands Development Authority: “You are not a federation but a qabza group who’s occupying beaches and islands in provinces,” he said. “The people of Gwadar don’t even have water to drink. Fishermen are not allowed to go fishing in their own sea.”Your whole PTI will need an NRO when the foreign funding case will be decided, said ANP’s Ameer Hoti in his speech. He was speaking at about 9:20pm at the jalsa.VIDEO: SAMAA TV reporter Sanjay Sadhwani is beaten at the jalsa over reporting people trying to leave the venue. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah told SAMAA TV that he had heard about this and condemned it. He said they would find out what had happened. The young man was found to be PPP’s youth wing’s Shiraz Abbasi was identified as Murad Khan, Shahbaz Gabol, Badshah Din. Dua has been offered for all the army jawans who have been martyred in the fight against extremism. Saeed Ghani then mentioned that they regretted that the PPP leader Rashid Rabbani could not be with them. He passed away just days ago from Covid.Former Balochistan CM Abdul Malik Baloch said during his speech at the PDM that Balochistan’s insurgents should be brought to the table. “The talks initiated by the previous government should be taken forward.”

Mohsin Dawar urges truth commissions

MNA Mohsin Dawar spoke about the need for truth commissions to investigate cases stretching back in history, what had happened in Fata, and the deaths of several people such as Naqeeb Mehsud and Arman Loni. “Target killings in North Waziristan raises a big question mark on the performance of the country’s security apparatus,” he said. He asked for Prime Minister Imran Khan to make a truth commission to investigate the allegations leveled by Khan in the past and by Nawaz Sharif at Gujranwala jalsa a day earlier. The truth commission should investigate all the martial laws in the country and the ‘dollar war” imposed on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.The states can’t be run as “war fanchises”. The states are run by giving people rights, he added. Leaders arriveMaryam, Bilawal, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Mohsin Dawar, Mahmood Khan Achakzai have arrived. Maulana Fazlur Rehman reached Karachi and headed to Bilawal House to meet Bilawal. Bilawal is expected to speak first, followed by Maryam and then Maulana Fazlur Rehman.Maryam Nawaz stopped at Avari Towers after paying her respects at the Quaid’s mazaar.

Mian Nawaz Sharif will not be addressing the rally in Karachi, PML-N’s spokesperson Muhammad Zubair told SAMAA Digital.

Earlier onPPP leaders are also posting pictures and videos of caravans of people arriving for the rally. Saeed Ghani is asking people to wear face masks. PPP workers are distributing them. The first PDM jalsa, in Gujranwala, was severely critisized for not being able to enforce SOPs.

Fully charged workers of PPP hyderabad ready to move for karachi jalsa. pic.twitter.com/Si1PeHxlgD— sharjeel inam memon (@sharjeelinam) October 18, 2020

The PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz is in Karachi and headed straight to the Jinnah Bagh from the airport. She is accompanied by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Marriyum Aurangzeb and other party leaders.

She visited the Quaid’s Mausoleum and paid respects there. On her way to the venue, Maryam said that the PML-N’s narrative is based on principles.

“Quaid-e-Azam had said that governments should come and go through votes,” she said, adding that she was overwhelmed by the love she received in the city.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman has also reached Karachi. He met former president Asif Ali Zardari at Ziauddin Hospital to check up on his health and discussed multiple political matters with him.

Background

The Pakistan Democratic Movement will be staging its second rally in its anti-government campaign today (Sunday). The rally will be held in Karachi and is being hosted by the PPP.

PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz will arrive in Karachi today for the rally and JUI-F
chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is also head of the PDM, arrived Saturday
night.

The rally is being held at Jinnah Bagh, the ground next to Quaid-e-Azam’s Mausoleum. PPP
Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah both toured the venue ahead of the rally to inspect the preparations.

The PPP claims 100,000 people will attend the rally. Over 4,000 policemen have been deputed for the security of the rally and the organisers have prepared 100,000 masks for participants. Seats have also been placed at a distance from each other to ensure social distancing.

Four gates have been set up at the venue—one for PDM leaders, one for women, one for political workers and one for the media.

The federal government has issued a No Objection Certificate for the rally but warned that the permission could be revoked at any time for any reason.

The rally has to finish before midnight.

Three stages have been set up—one for the main PDM leaders and two for senior leaders of opposition parties. Each stage is 160 feet long, 20 feet high and 50 feet wide. Barbed wire has been placed around the main stage where the PDM leaders will sit.

The PDM, which is comprised of 11 opposition parties, has vowed to stage rallies across the country to begin a movement against the government. Its first rally was in Gujranwala on October 16.

Traffic plan

The Karachi traffic police issued a traffic plan for the city a few days ago, and have now issued a parking plan for the rally.

People attending the rally can park at Nishtar Park, Tai Karate Ground, Sharae Quaideen Khudad Colony Underpass and Corridor 3 Resident Engineer of Mazar-e-Quaid office.

People coming from outside Karachi can enter the city via Sohrab Goth and then proceed from Water Pump, Liaquatabad Dak Khana and Gurumandir to either Nishtar Park or Tai Karate Ground. They could also travel from Sohrab Goth to Abul Hassan Isphahani Road, take the Safari Park U-turn to get onto University Road and then proceed to New Town, Jail Flyover and PP Chowrangi to near the Resident Engineer office.

People coming from Thatta, District Malir and District East can arrive at Jinnah Bagh via Sharae Faisal to Karsaz to Stadium Road to New Town and to the Jail Flyover.

Gurumandir, Jamshed Road and Teen Hatti will be closed for regular traffic. Traffic on Sharae Quaideen will not be allowed to go any further than the Noorani signal.Traffic on University Road towards Jail Chowrangi will be diverted left towardsShaheed-e-Millat.

Corridor 3 will also be sealed for regular traffic from Regal Chowk to MA Jinnah Road. Heavy traffic will not be allowed on the routes from Nazimabad and Teen Hatti to Gurumandir. Heavy traffic can use the Nishtar Road route instead.

Heavy traffic is also not allowed from Liaquatabad Number 10 to Teen Hatti and Gurumandir or Sharae Quaideen to Society.

Abdul Gh Lone

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