PDM leaders say ‘early polls only way to take Pakistan forward’

LAHORE: Top leaders of opposition alliance of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) said early elections were the only way to take the country forward amid rising inflation and skyrocketing prices.

The demand was put forth by PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif as they addressed a press conference following a meeting at the latter’s residence.

Briefing the media, Shahbaz said the country’s political developments were discussed in detail during the meeting. He added that matters related to PDM, skyrocketing inflation, increase in electricity, flour prices, and dengue — which is wreaking havoc in the country — also came under discussion.

The Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly said all political parties and the masses demand free and fair elections in the country, which is the “only way to take Pakistan forward”.

“This is not an easy path; we will have to commit all our energies to it, work, day and night, and only then can we take the country back to the state it was in during 2018 — after that, we can take the country towards progress,” he said.

For this, we need to hold free and fair elections, he reiterated.

Responding to a question, Shahbaz said if Fazl calls for a long march against the government, he and his party would back him.

Shehbaz Sharif asks PM Khan to ‘restore prosperous Pakistan of the past’

President of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and leader of the opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif Saturday called out the federal government for failing to resolve public issues and demanded that “transparent elections” be held in the country immediately to ‘restore the prosperous Pakistan of the past’.

Speaking to media alongside JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Lahore, Shehbaz said holding elections was the quickest way to recommence Pakistan’s journey towards prosperity.

“We will have to work day and night and utilise all resources to bring the country back to the pre-2018 state,” he told journalists.

He reiterated his call for launching a movement against the government over “unprecedented inflation” which he said had caused hardships for the masses.

The PML-N leader said the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of opposition parties, was united in its cause and that raising a voice against inflation was the right of the people.

Shehbaz called out Prime Minister Imran Khan for “improper handling of sensitive matters”, saying “history is a witness to sacrifices rendered by the institution responsible for Pakistan’s defence. Even Modi could not harm it the way Imran did”.

Fazl announces new round of rallies

For his part, Fazl said the PDM alliance was steadfast and serious in achieving its goals of ousting the incumbent government — which was the original motive when the alliance was formed in September last year.

Fazl said a “historic” public gathering would be held in Faisalabad on October 16 and a large gathering would take place in Dera Ghazi Khan on October 31. Prior to this, JUI-F has announced it will hold the Mufti Mehmood Conference on October 14.

“The people want to get rid of the government which has been forced on them, and to resolve this issue, there is a need to hold elections at the earliest,” the PDM chief said, adding: “The institutions have been ruined.”

The PDM chief said teachers, lawyers, doctors, landowners, labourers, farmers, were all drastically affected due to the government’s policies, and a poor person cannot afford to put food on the table due to the rising inflation.

“This is a serious situation,” Fazl said.

The PDM chief added that “even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not have damaged Pakistan the way the country’s incumbent, prime minister, Imran Khan has”.

The JUI-F chief castigated the government for “firing several people from different departments” and said the situation was “really serious”.

He said opposition parties would have to think of ways to steer the country out of this crisis.

Fazl said reports were circulating on media for the last couple of days about the army, which he said was an important institution for Pakistan. He hailed the “unity of command” and the public support the army enjoyed but went on to say that the premier had “harmed that institution”.

“I am not talking about internal matters. We can differ on political fronts, but we want to see this institution disciplined and strengthened for the country’s defence,” he said.

The JUI-F leader said PDM was intact and active, adding that it was scheduled to hold public gatherings in Faisalabad on Oct 16 and in DI Khan on Oct 31.

Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He tweets as @mian_abrar and also can be reached at [email protected]

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