Peshawar rally | Pakistan Today

Peshawar rally

  • Govt and opposition should both display maturity

The PTI government has accused the opposition alliance of hypocrisy and playing reckless politics with people’s safety because its components who criticised PM Imran Khan for not ordering a strict lockdown were now holding rallies ignoring  that this would spread the coronavirus far and wide. While this may be true, the PTI displayed equal recklessness when its legislators and a minister addressed big rallies, where all SOPs were violated . Again it politically suited the PTI’s Punjab government not to raise eyebrows when tens of thousands of TLP followers congregated at Minar-i-Pakistan to take part in their deceased chief’s last rites. Here too,  few cared to wear a  mask while none maintained the prescribed six feet distance.

It now suits PDM politically to hold the Peshawar rally despite the district administration’s refusal to allow the gathering. The alliance has warned the administration that any attempt to create hurdles in the holding of PDM’s meetings could spark street battles. Unless sanity prevails, there could be bloody encounters. Holding peaceful protests is a fundamental right of the people. The opposition thinks that the government is trying to hide behind the pandemic and that the opposition will not allow this. Meanwhile Nacta has issued a terror attack alert for Peshawar. This requires the KP government to provide full security to the rally. Any negligence on its part could lead to serious consequences.

This said there is a need on the part of the opposition alliance to conduct itself responsibly. It has to ensure that its protest remains peaceful in disregard of provocations. A big rally that remains imperturbable even when under strain, has a greater impact than one which indulges in lawlessness. The PDM  also needs to be seen as a conscious political force. This requires it to be fully alert to the threat posed by the second wave of the coronavirus. The coronavirus positivity rate in Peshawar district has exceeded 13 per cent. The PDM rally should not be seen to be a factor in furthering the spread of the pandemic. What one expects from the opposition alliance is that it will ensure that those attending the rally follow the Covid-19 SOPs.