The steering committee of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the 11-party opposition alliance, is meeting today at alliance leader and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman’s residence in Islamabad ahead of its protest scheduled outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) tomorrow. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan called a meeting of government representatives today to discuss the ongoing situation.
Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz was present at the meeting, on special invitation, alongside other party leadership, despite not being part of the steering committee. However, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was absent from the meeting, and the party was represented by Raja Pervez Ashraf. The opposition alliance leadership is to set forth the agenda of Tuesday’s protest and decide on a collective course of action for the opposition’s long march to Islamabad.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan called a meeting today of government representative and party leaders to discuss the opposition’s actions and the government’s response to the scheduled protest. Discussions will also be held on economic and political issues currently facing the country.
The ECP is to hold a hearing of foreign funding allegations against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) tomorrow, which has been ongoing for six years. The case relates to allegations that the PTI acquired party funds from dubious and illegal sources. PTI lawyers have lodged multiple petitions over the years to question the ECP’s jurisdiction over the case, but all have been dismissed. The PDM is now pressing the ECP to escalate the case proceedings.
In a press conference on Monday, Minister for Information Shibli Faraz and Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Farrukh Habib claimed that the opposition parties had themselves been caught in the trap they had laid the PTI. They said that the main opposition parties, PPP and PML-N, themselves have no answers about their own foreign funding, and are simply using pressure tactics against the ECP and the government.