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Maulana Fazl to lead anti-govt ‘Pakistan Democratic Movement’

ISLAMABAD – The opposition parties gearing up for an anti-government movement, on Saturday unanimously elected Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman as head of the newly-formed alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), sources said.

The opposition parties evolved consensus over the name of JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman as head of PDM at a virtual meeting presided over by Maulana Fazlur Rehman here. PML-N had suggested the name of Fazl for the chairmanship of PDM which was approved by all the other parties unanimously, according to the sources. PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal would be appointed as Secretary General of the alliance. However, according to the sources, the other office-bearers of the alliance would be elected in the coming meetings where members from other political parties will be given positions. 

The sources further said that PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif proposed the name and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari endorsed Fazl-ur-Rehman as PDM head.

The sources said that Fazl has asked the opposition parties to sign a fresh charter of democracy so that no signatory could back out from the decisions. PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif also participated in the meeting. The other participants include Mohsin Dawar, Owais Noorani, Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Ahsan Iqbal, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Amir Haider Hoti, Prof. Sajid Mir, Marriyum Orangzeb, Dr Abdul Malik, former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Sherry Rehman.

The meeting also discussed the country’s prevailing political situation and the decisions taken during the All Parties Conference last month.

PDM, a multiparty alliance of the opposition parties, had announced to hold its first public gathering in Quetta on October 11. The opposition is of the view that the upcoming anti-government rally would be the beginning of a movement against the government. PML-N stalwart Ahsan Iqbal has been nominated as head of the steering committee of the alliance though it will be changed on rotational basis. The steering committee would have two representatives from each party and will hold public gatherings in every province of the country.

PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said the duration for the rotation of PDM chairmanship, other central and provincial leaders will be decided by PDM Steering Committee in a meeting on 5th October (tomorrow). He said the Steering Committee will also finalise the programme for the movement. He said the PDM movement is for supremacy of the Constitution, democracy, judiciary and for the security of the rights of Pakistanis. 

A resolution passed in the meeting said the government’s statement linking PDM to India is a proof of the frustration of this government. It condemned the allegations of being anti-state on a three-time prime minister who announced the country as a nuclear power. The resolution strongly condemned the arrest of PML-N President and National Assembly Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif. It ruled that the arrest of opposition leaders is an attempt to rig the Gilgit-Baltistan elections. But, it said, these tactics won’t stop the PDM movement.

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