Pakistan opposition alliance to launch nationwide protests on 20 October

The opposition alliance in Pakistan, known as the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), will launch nationwide protests, starting from Wednesday, pressing the government-led Prime Minister Imran Khan for a range of demands, including early general elections

Oct 19, 2021
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Pakistan opposition alliance

The opposition alliance in Pakistan, known as the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), will launch nationwide protests, starting from Wednesday, pressing the government-led Prime Minister Imran Khan for a range of demands, including early general elections. 

Maulana Fazlur Rahman, the chairman of the PDM, announced on Monday about the nationwide protests which come in the backdrop of rising inflation. The decision was taken after the central committee of the (PDM) on Monday held the meeting attended by opposition parties members.

“Rallies and demonstrations will begin from the district level while all PDM component parties will meet at the provincial level,” Maulana Fazlur was quoted as saying by Dawn. adding that coordinators would be appointed to successfully execute the campaign against the government.

Came into existence in 2020 when eleven opposition parties joined hands, the PDM was formed against the government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan whom they call “selected prime minister”--a reference to the allegation that Khan came to power through the elections rigged by the country’s powerful military. 

Last year, the alliance held several rallies-- in a show of strength--drawing huge on the streets of major cities. Initially considered powerful as it sought civilian supremacy over the military’s interference in the country’s domestic politics, the alliance later weakened as differences emerged within the group over whether to target the military directly or to keep their attacks just directed at Prime Minister Khan. 

The Khan’s government, backed by the military, has been accused of selectively targeting opposition leaders, using multiple agencies. Khan defends his position arguing that opposition leaders joined hands against him due to his crackdown on corruption which rattled them.     

On Monday Fazrul said, “PDM will lead rallies and demonstrations, stand shoulder to shoulder with people, and get them their due rights.” He further added, “We will go a step further and hold wheel-jams and long march, but step by step,” he said, adding that the task required hard work.

The alliance also demanded fresh general elections in the country. “We are not discussing local bodies polls – the main issue is holding of free and fair general elections in the country,” he said.

Given the prevailing widespread dissatisfaction over rising inflation, the alliance, if it manages to put forward a united show, is better positioned today to discredit the government. However, as the country’s history shows, parties become more susceptible to maneuvering by the military just months ahead of general elections. 
 
(SAM)