PDM, KP govt face-off over Peshawar rally

PESHAWAR: The leaders of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Friday announced to hold the planned gathering in the provincial capital on November 22 and strictly follow the standard operating procedures ((SOPs).

However, the district administration refused permission to the 11-party alliance, citing the rise in the cases of the coronavirus.

Condemning the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and district administration for rejecting their application, the PDM leaders said they would exercise their constitutional right by holding the protest. Speaking at a news conference here, the leaders of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) reiterated their commitment to hold the gathering and condemned the PTI rulers for trying to create hurdles to the gathering.

The opposition leaders vowed to hold the protest meeting despite the government’s ‘illegal actions’ in various parts of the province, saying they could not be harassed and pressurised through such tactics. They said the ‘selected’ rulers were trying to hide behind the coronavirus pandemic but questioned as to why the government allowed gatherings in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Maulana Lutfur Rahman of JUI said they would hold the November 22 meeting. The government was exerting pressure on transporters and advertisers to create hurdles for them, he added. “The government is afraid of the opposition’s movement,” he remarked, adding that they had chalked out strategies to hold the gathering. He said they would remain peaceful, urging the government to stop using such tactics. He said the government would be held responsible for any untoward incident if the rulers tried to create hurdles for them. “We have asked our workers to convert the processions into sit-ins,” he said.

Humayun Khan of PPP said the government was creating hurdles and spreading propaganda against the opposition but it was united. He said the government was hiding behind the coronavirus pandemic. He said the nation would soon get rid of the inefficient rulers. Sardar Hussain Babak of ANP said the rulers could not block the flood of people. He said the bureaucracy should not play the role of ‘Tiger Force’. He recalled that Imran Khan had claimed that the government would provide containers to the opposition but now the rulers were afraid of the opposition’s movement. He said the people were fed up with the selected rulers and they would exercise their right of holding peaceful protests.

This article originally appeared on The News International