The main opposition parties have vowed to defy the government’s direction to hold a mass rally in Multan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts fear that the virus may increase to an uncontrollable extent keeping in view the state of health facilities in the country. Pakistan’s majority lives in rural areas where health facilities are not up to the mark and it can lead to a serious public health crisis in the country, fear experts.
— 92 News HD Plus (@92newschannel) November 28, 2020
The government has repeatedly warned the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leadership of the potential dangers of mass rallies amid the rise of second wave. However, the official SOPs have been torn apart.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday lambasted the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), for holding rallies and jalsas amid a worsening coronavirus situation in the country and the Opposition parties’ bid to save what he termed was “looted wealth and corruption”.
Read More: Is PDM a product of poor governance?
In a series of tweets Sunday afternoon, PM Imran Khan said Pakistan is facing not only the COVID-19 pandemic but “a political leadership that has never gone through any democratic struggle” and is not well-versed with the challenges ordinary citizens experience.
Problem confronting us in Pak during COVID 19 is of a political leadership that has never gone through any democratic struggle, nor worked with ordinary citizens to understand the problems they confront, nor contributed in any substantive way for betterment of ordinary citizens.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 29, 2020
The premier criticized the Opposition leaders for lacking empathy and their families that “looted national wealth to further impoverish our masses”.
In fact not only do these "leaders" lack any empathy with the masses, their families looted national wealth to further impoverish our masses. These entitled "leaders" living like royalty in their secluded mansions, have simply inherited their positions because of their families.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 29, 2020
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) supremo Maulana Fazlur Rehman has announced that PDM will hold its rally in Multan’s Qila Kohna Qasim Bagh stadium at any cost. Maulana Fazlur Rehman made the announcement while addressing a press conference alongside Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader Rana Sanaullah, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Yousaf Raza Gillani and others in Multan.
“PDM is organizing public gatherings across the country and it is going to hold another massive rally in Multan on November 30 [tomorrow]. Punjab government and local administration are using negative tactics and workers of all political parties are being arrested and threatened to face fines for participating in the upcoming rally,” he added.
PPP’s Yousaf Raza Gillani said that Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s health is not well and Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari will attend and address the Multan rally tomorrow. He criticized the arrests of his son and PPP workers in Multan by the local administration. It is important to note that Bilawal has been tested positive for COVID-19 after he went to attend a rally of the PDM in Peshawar.
COVID-19 in Pakistan
Pakistan has reported 43 deaths in the last 24 hours by novel coronavirus as the number of positive cases has surged to 395,185. The nationwide tally of fatalities has jumped to 7,985 on Sunday. According to the latest deports, till now 171,595 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Sindh, 118,511 in Punjab, 46,877 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 17,101 in Balochistan, 29,782 in Islamabad, 6,682 in Azad Kashmir and 4,637 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Furthermore, 2,979 individuals have lost their lives to the epidemic in Punjab 2,911 in Sindh, 1,359 in KP, 166 in Balochistan, 309 in Islamabad, 164 in Azad Kashmir and 97 in GB. Pakistan has so far conducted 5,475,508 coronavirus tests and 40,369 in the last 24 hours. 339,810 coronavirus patients have recovered in the country whereas 2,186 patients are in critical condition.
It is pertinent to mention here that the opposition alliance had announced to hold a public meeting on November 30 in Multan. The local administration had denied permission to the opposition parties for the meeting owing to increasing virus cases in the second wave of the COVID-19 in the country.
— Hamza Azhar Salam (@HamzaAzhrSalam) November 27, 2020
The Multan administration took control of Qila Kohna Qasim Bagh stadium again besides arresting various PDM workers belonging to different political parties including Kasim Gillani, the son of ex-premier Yousaf Raza Gillani after they stormed into the venue by removing barriers,
Multan police and administration blocked the central routes of the Qila Kohna Qasim Bagh stadium and removed the tents, chairs and other equipment from the venue of the PDM rally besides deploying additional contingents of security officials.