The opposition alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), on Saturday announced that it would launch a countrywide protest campaign to overthrow the PTI government.

A decision was taken during a PDM meeting held in Karachi a day before its show in the provincial capital.

During the meeting, JUI-F and alliance’s chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman urged opposition lawmakers to resign from the assemblies and launch an anti-government long march.

Later, talking to media along with PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, he said the PDM would announce the “final” round of its campaign in the early days of September and issue a white paper on the performance of the PTI government.

“The PDM will lay down a web of rallies in the country and also launch a road caravan so that citizens can protest for their rights,” he added.

The Maulana said the alliance had rejected the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PDMA), describing it as an attempt by the government to curtail the freedom of press.

Fazal said the PDM had also rejected the government’s “illegal and unconstitutional” electoral reforms.

The government was claiming to hold transparent elections by using electronic voting machines (EVMs), which had been rejected by the “entire world”, he added.

“The Election Commission has also expressed its reservations [over EVMs],” he continued.

He claimed that the electoral reforms were a “conspiracy against democracy” and an “attempt to steal the elections”.

About the PPP, he said the party had tried to “stab the PDM in the back”, putting to rest speculations that it might join the alliance again.

“But it’s not the PPP we are targeting. Our focus is on ridding the country of this government. The PPP issue is a matter of the past,” he added.

However, he added that the PDM would also raise issues being faced by Sindh during the rally on Sunday.

Responding to a question, the JUI-F chief clarified that women would participate in the PDM rally and provided with protection.

Earlier, JUI-F Sindh General Secretary Rashid Soomro had told reporters that women would not take part in the rally on Sunday, a decision that had been made with the consensus of all constituent parties.

His remarks drew criticism from other political leaders, particularly PPP’s Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, who tweeted that the “PDM banning women from attending jalsas is pathetic”.

Speaking on the occasion, Shehbaz said the PDM had decided not to remain confined to rallies and take practical steps.

The participants of the PDM meeting included Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Sajid Mir, Owais Noorani, Aftab Sherpao and Mohammad Zubair.

Former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz participated through video link from London and Lahore, respectively.

Nawaz told the participants that the country had become isolated in the world because of the PTI government’s policies.

He suggested expanding the rallies of the alliance to 31 districts.

“The PDM will have to expand its movement,” he added.

“State institutions should not be used for political motives.”


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