The Federal government has decided to allow the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of almost all major political parties, to stage protest rallies anywhere in the country as long as it doesn’t lead to chaos.
The decision was taken in a key meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan to review the political situation in the country. Federal ministers, special assistants and senior leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) attended the meeting. The meeting also exchanged views on a strategy to deal with the situation.
At the meeting, the prime minister is reported to have said that peaceful protests are the democratic and constitutional right of every citizen and that his government would not deny the opposition parties this right. However, he added, nobody would be allowed to create chaos in the country under the guise of protest.
Furthermore, he stated that the opposition’s movement is not for the people as it claims, but is instead motivated by the interest of the political elite. People have no interest in the “save corruption movement” of the opposition parties, he added.
The meeting further decided that PDM would be issued no objection certificated (NOC) for political rallies countrywide. However, the local administration would ensure that opposition parties should implement SOPs (standard operating procedures) in their rallies to contain the spread of Covid-19.
A senior PTI leader privy to the development said that most of the party leaders had a view that the opposition should be given free hand as the use of force or by not allowing them to hold rallies would make their protests more prominent.
The prime minister, according to the sources, said that the opposition would not be allowed to create chaos in the country under the pretext of protests. He added that the underlying objective of the PDM is to put pressure on the government to drop corruption cases against their leaders.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’ leader Ahsan Iqbal, who heads PDM’s steering committee, said that the first power show will be held on October 16.