Maryam Nawaz, Maulana Fazalur Rehman (C) and Bilawal Zardari attend an anti-government rally in Lahore on Sunday night. AP
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
The 11-party opposition alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), has given Prime Minister Imran Khan an ultimatum that he should resign by Jan.31 or else the final date of its planned march on Islamabad to topple his government will be announced on Feb.1.
“If the government does not resign by Jan.31 then the PDM will march on Islamabad,” announced the Jammate Ullama-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, while addressing a joint news conference in Lahore on Monday. “I appeal the nation to start preparations for the long march from today,” he added.
Fazl said that all the opposition parties will "take our resignations with us."
On Sunday night, the PDM held its sixth and last public rally at the Minar-e-Pakistan Ground Lahore and its leaders lambasted the government for its failures in every sphere of life.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was the host of the show. All top PDM stalwarts including Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Akhtar Mengal, Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Awais Noorani and Prof Sajid Mir spoke on the occasion.
Maryam waves to supporters as she arrives to attend an anti-government rally in Lahore. AFP
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz in her address urged supporters to answer the call for a march to Islamabad, while PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari formally announced that PDM is now headed to the capital.
Maryam, welcoming the attendees, stated who used to say in his pharaoh-like tone that the PML-N should dare and fill the venue? "To them I say: Come and behold this full venue. The entire area surrounding the venue is full. Thousands could not find space here.”
The PML-N vice president also mimicked Imran Khan, shaking her head in the negative, quoting him as saying: "I won't give an NRO (amnesty)."
She said that the prime minister is now asking the PDM and Nawaz Sharif for an NRO. "Tell me people of Lahore, will you give him an NRO? Remember this Imran Khan, Taabedaar Khan. I was about to add one more thing but you have started cheering at the mention of Taabedaar Khan.”
Maryam said that a virus far more dangerous and deadlier than COVID-19 is "COVID-18 Taabedaar Khan." She said that because of "COVID-18" Pakistan's progress, along with its wheat, sugar, gas, electricity, salaries, medicines have all been put under "quarantine."
Fazl saluted the crowd's passion and enthusiasm. "The resolve that you have shown will prove to be a milestone in history. Pakistan is currently ruled by an illegitimate government.”
He vowed that the government "will be one of the people." "This system of rigging will no longer work,” he said adding that people's emotions are now turning to that of anger and resentment and the opposition's movement is aimed at addressing their woes and securing stability for Pakistan.
Fazl said that the PDM demands the rule of the Parliament. "We will not allow the Parliament to be held hostage."
Bilawal said that PDM is reaching out to every town and village. "Things are in a dismal state with today's incompetent, illegal and unqualified government. People have nothing but curses in their hearts and on their lips."
Bilawal and Maryam (R) arrive to attend an anti-government rally in Lahore. AFP
He said that these "fools have no clue or wisdom about history", adding: "When have we ever feared dictators? We have burned all our boats." He said that when the people band together in a show of force like today "chains of oppression are broken." "Your victory is near," he said, to a roaring crowd.
Bilawal said that although students, traders, doctors, and shopkeepers are all in deep distress, the future of Pakistan is bright. "The government cannot feel the pain of the people because they did not come through your vote. This is not the choice of the people."
He said that the "biggest joke" was being pulled with Punjab, where the "fake government" has no concern for the people's rights. "In the city of lights there is nothing but darkness," he said and demanded the release of Shahbaz Sharif and Khurshid Shah.
Imran Khan made the announcement in a televised address to the nation, alleging that some lawmakers from his ruling Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) party had been bribed by the opposition to vote for former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in the Senate elections on Wednesday.
"The PDM must bear in mind that people don’t support looters. People around the world have come out on the streets to protest against corruption. Has anyone ever come out on the streets to support corruption of political leaders.”
Prime minister shared five pictures, which were captured in the garden of his Banigala residence, to show that he is relaxing at home with his pets and not at all bothered about what the opposition leaders are planning against his government.
Gilani, fielded by the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) secured 169 votes while Hafeez Sheikh could manage 164 ballots. Seven votes were declared invalid and were rejected by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
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