PDM’s rallies

Some senior leaders of two main opposition parties, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), are reportedly advising their leadership not to hold protests amid the rise of COVID-19 second wave and immediately postpone PDM’s rallies. Sources claim that some seasoned politicians from both parties want the rallies to be postponed. However, both PPP and PML-N top leadership has reportedly turned the suggestion down.

The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is planning a public gathering in the city on November 30. But the district administration has twice denied permission to hold rallies citing coronavirus measures. Multan’s deputy commissioner, Amir Khattak, says the district administration has not allowed the PPP to hold a rally. Consequently, heavy contingents of police will be deployed on all roads leading to the city’s Nawan Shehr.

In Pakistan, the maximum positivity rate had reached 23pc in June as it had increased from 6pc in May, while the positivity rate was brought down to 1.7pc in September.

There had also been an increase in the number of infections reported at educational institutions across the country, with 19pc of total Covid-19 cases being recorded among students. The positivity ratio in educational institutions rose from 1.8pc to 3.3pc during the last week — an increase of 82pc.

Three days ago, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood has said that all educational institutions, including schools, colleges, and tuition centers, will close down from November 26 (Thursday).

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Notably, Maryam Nawaz has announced to attend the PDM’s rally being held in Multan. “Nawaz Sharif has directed me to attend the meeting of the PDM,” Maryam told reporters as quoted by Dawn.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has been tested positive for COVID-19 so he is not to attend the rally. However, he is scheduled to address the rally from his office.

Leaders quitting PML-N?

Some senior leaders of the party have already quitted the party and a few others are deliberating over their possible withdrawal to the Nawaz’s anti-establishment narrative.

Lieutenant General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch has resigned from the party. Former Balochistan chief minister Sanaullah Zehri and some of his aides quitted the party.  Abdul Qadir Baloch, PML-N’s provincial president, reportedly took the decision after the party’s controversial decision not to invite Sanaullah Zehri to the recently held Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rally in Quetta.

The News reported that Qadir has confessed to have quitted the party because of the senior leadership’s narrative. “I am a product of the Army and cannot stand by the narrative of disobedience since it would be extremely injurious to the country. I have taken the decision of parting ways with heavy heart,” said the retired General who commanded North Command as Corps Commander in Quetta and had also been governor of Balochistan.

PML-N’s anti-state narrative

Nawaz Sharif named the Army Chief and DG ISI for political engineering in the country. “General Bajwa is responsible for installing incompetent Imran Khan,” he said while addressing PDM rally from London.

Similarly, senior PDM leader Mehmood Khan Achakzai in his speech had said “though Urdu is lingua franca, it’s not our language”.

Later on, MQM’s Faisal Subzwari said that the silence of all opposition parties against the anti-Urdu statement seemed to suggest that it was the collective narrative of the opposition.

“Rejecting Urdu as the national language and that too from a place located under the shadow of Quaid’s mazar is a matter of serious concern,” he said, adding: “The leadership of opposition should have demonstrated responsibility.”

Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) leader Maulana Shah Owais Noorani demanded an independent Balochistan in Quetta while addressing a rally of PDM. “We want Balochistan as an independent state. Today, Balochistan looks like an underdeveloped area of the country,” Maulana Owais Noorani said.

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Finally, PML-N’s Ayaz Sadi had said that “I remember Shah Mahmood Qureshi was in the meeting in which Imran Khan had refused to attend and Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa came into the room, his legs were shaking and he was. Foreign Minister said for God’s sake let Abhinandan go, India’s about to attack Pakistan at 9 pm”. Not only the foreign minister but also DG ISPR rubbished the statement.

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