December 8, 2023

Peshawar – Staff Reporter:

JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman has announced that the anti-government alliance – the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – has not disintegrated by the exit of a few parties and that the PDM is going to hold a rally in Karachi on July 29 to carry forward its agenda of dislodging the PTI government.

“The PDM has not changed its stance and the movement against the government will continue with popular support,” Fazl, who also heads the PDM, said while addressing a press conference in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) provincial capital.

“Exit of a few passengers does not mean the end of a journey,” he said in an apparent reference to the PPP and the ANP which parted ways with the alliance after a disagreement over selection of the leader of opposition in the Senate in March. “The PDM stands its grounds.”

He said the alliance will stage a big rally in Swat on July 4.

“There we will show how this government was imposed on the country and why these people can’t represent the Pakhtuns. On July 29, we will hold a big rally in Karachi for which people will be mobilized.

“There is no justification for this government to stay in power. We will continue our struggle to put the country back on the track of the Constitution,” he added.

The JUI-F chief said National Assembly Leader of Opposition Shehbaz Sharif has proposed to hold an all parties conference (APC) to discuss electoral reforms and that his party supports this proposal.

According to Fazl, the parliament is regarded as the supreme institution but the PTI government disrespected and defiled this institution during the ongoing budget session.

“The government presented the budget in a clumsy manner and tried to hide its lies by literally throwing shoes at the opposition lawmakers. How can they talk about the supremacy of the parliament after exhibiting unacceptable behavior?”

Fazl said the proposed budget is a bundle of lies and the government has tried to hide this fact by resorting to hooliganism during the National Assembly’s budget session.

“The parliament doesn’t work this way. However, the ruling alliance replicated this behavior at the Balochistan Assembly; did not take into consideration the sense of deprivation in the province and deprived the opposition of its rights,” the JUI-F chief added.

To a question about Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid’s invitation for a dialogue, Fazl said, “Who shall we talk to? Dialogues are held with eligible and capable people. How can we talk to someone with such an attitude and tone,” he said.

“We can talk to those who brought the government into power, on our terms,” he remarked. The PDM chief further said, “We can invite the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to participate in the APC on the electoral reforms.”

On granting the expatriates the right to vote, he said, “the overseas Pakistanis are our brothers [but] some countries don’t have a vote registration mechanism in place.”

Fazl feared that granting expatriates the right to vote may result in rigging. “If the embassies function as polling booths, how can the votes be secure while the PTI is in power?”

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