Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed on Tuesday welcomed Pakistan Democratic Movement’s long march to Islamabad as he played down their protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan’s office.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the interior minister said that despite allowing the Opposition to hold a rally in the capital’s “Red Zone”, it could only gather a “mere 3,000 people”. “I was about to declare that there were 2,000 people, but after consultations with everyone, it was decided that the attendees were 3,000,” he said.
Taking a jibe at PDM, he invited them to hold the long march starting today and urged them to not wait further. “During your rally, even the metro bus was running,” he said, in further ridicule of the Opposition’s protest. “This was a gathering of people who are hungry for power,” Rasheed said.
‘Panama (part) two’
Meanwhile, taking a shot at PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Rasheed said that the Opposition parties had “betrayed” the JUI-F’s head once again.
Notably, the Central Executive Committee session of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) decided not to resign from the assemblies and instead focus on legal and constitutional measures against the government.
The party’s CEC session chaired by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari decided to launch a contact campaign with the peasants, lawyers, traders and doctors organizations, sources said. “We have determined to take the democratic forces along,” Bilawal Bhutto speaking in the meeting said.
“We have lauded the PPP’s decision that a final decision on resignations will be made from the PDM’s platform,” the JUI-F chief said while addressing to media after a meeting with Maryam Nawaz.
Talking about PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz, he warned her that the Broadsheet scandal was “Panama (part) two”, adding that she shouldn’t have given her opinion on the matter without reading the report.
Moreover, he said: “My friend (PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto) is celebrating in Umerkot […] He went to Umerkot instead of coming to Islamabad.”
In a program, Think Tank, prominent analyst Ayaz Amir has said that the PDM is no longer a serious threat to the government. “They [PDM] do not understand a few things. For example, PDM is not focusing on the common Pakistanis’ issues like inflation and sugar crisis,” he said.
Professor Hassan Askari Rizvi also agreed with Amir and maintained that “PDM should know that the governments cannot be toppled like this”. Prof. Rizvi also noted that the PDM has never been clear about its agenda. “Earlier they attacked Army and the Judiciary, now ECP is being targeted,” he explained.
PPP should not resign from assemblies, Aitzaz Ahsan
Aitzaz Ahsan, a senior leader of PPP and a prominent lawyer, has said that Maryam’s plan doesn’t appear to be succeeding. He was speaking to SAMAA TV on Tuesday. The PPP leader advised the Pakistan Democratic Movement to postpone its rally in Lahore on December 13. “Governments are not toppled through rallies and processions,” he said. “The third force topples them.”
Aitzaz opposed the opposition’s move to resign en masse too. “How can the PML-N alone decide this,” he questioned. Opposition parties should be aware that Nawaz Sharif’s narrative does not serve PDM’s interests, the PPP leader said.
The Nawaz-league has now confronted the third force too, he said, adding that the party which favors collective resignations should submit them. In my opinion, he said, the PPP should not go to this extent.
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Aitzaz had also stated that opposition’s resignations were not enough to dissolve the national and provincial assemblies, as the ruling PTI needed only 172 members in the National Assembly, adding only 84 members – required to maintain the quorum of the 342-member Lower House of the Parliament – was enough to run the house.