24 November 2020
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Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman declared on Sunday a “war” against Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government at the Pakistan Democratic Movement rally in Peshawar.

The JUI-F chief, who is also the president of the PDM, said
the participants had rejected the government that came into power through poll
rigging. “The people of Peshawar have held a referendum,” he said.

“The battle is on and we are to advance,” Fazl
said. “[We] have declared a war and it is a great sin to retreat from the
battlefield.”

Without naming anyone, the JUI-F chief said until today, he
had not come across anyone but now he would get to know. The remark appeared to
be aimed at PM Khan, whom the PDM seeks to send home.

Fazl extended his condolences to the Sharif family over the
demise of Nawaz Sharif’s mother. He expressed sorrow over the passing of
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan chief Allama Khadim Rizvi too.

The rally which was held at Kabootar Chowk near Ring Road began at 11am. Over 10,000 seats were set up at the venue.

No compromise on terrorism, says Bilawal

Speaking at the rally, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said this is the tenure of the ‘selected’. Do you know who got an NRO, he asked the crowd. Terrorist Ehsanullah Ehsan got one, he said. The killers of the APS children got one, he said.

“This selected government is letting our children’s killers out of jail,” he accused.

He also said terrorism is increasing. Bilawal warned that they will not allow that to happen. He also accused the PTI of not fulfilling the promises it made to the people of FATA.

We will not leave the people of KP alone, he promised.

Maryam leaves PDM Peshawar rally after grandmother’s death

I wanted to talk to you, people of Peshawar, Maryam Nawaz said. “I came to meet you but I just found out my dadi passed away in London.” She asked people to pray for her soul and the health of her father.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader left the rally after her brief address.

An eight-foot long stage had been set up for opposition leaders in the centre of the road. Four screens along with an audio system were installed at the site too.

The traffic police of Peshawar had prepared a diversion route plan for the residents to prevent traffic jams and other inconvenience.

PDM leaders Fazl, Maryam, Bilawal and Mehmood Khan Achakzai had lunch at Bilour House ahead of the rally.

The rally was held despite a threat by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to take legal action against the organisers given the rise in coronavirus cases.

Taking to Twitter on Saturday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the opposition was “playing reckless politics”.

The same PDM mbrs who had wanted a strict lockdown and criticised me earlier now playing reckless politics with people’s safety. They are even defying court orders & holding a jalsa when cases are rising dramatically. https://t.co/nc9KAN0Ihg— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 21, 2020

Other leaders such as Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry and Shireen Mazari also criticised the opposition over similar grounds.

In response, the JUI-F chief said the PDM would not back down and accused the government of using coronavirus as a tactic against the opposition. “This illegitimate government itself is a big corona,” he said at a press conference in Peshawar.

Pakistan is presently experiencing the second wave of the virus. In the last 24 hours, 59 people across the country died from the deadly virus. Over 2,600 new cases were reported taking the total number of cases in Pakistan to 374,173.

What is the Pakistan Democratic Movement?

The PDM, which comprises 11 opposition parties, has been staging anti-government rallies across Pakistan.

The first one was held in Gujranwala on October 16, the second in Karachi on October 18 and the third in Quetta on October 25. The movement’s fifth rally will be held in Peshawar on November 22, the sixth in Multan on November 30 and the last rally will be held in Lahore on December 13.

The opposition members said there should be accountability for anyone accused of corruption, not just the opposition. At the rallies, the opposition leaders also challenged the country’s powerful establishment, accusing them of bringing the PTI government to power through systematic rigging.

Abdul Gh Lone

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