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Nawaz told me Pakistan’s sorrow is greater than ours: Maryam

Aseefa says the 'selected' will have to go now

SAMAA | and - Posted: Nov 30, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
Posted: Nov 30, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago

The Pakistan Democratic Movement is gearing up for its rally in Multan today (Monday).

The chief of the opposition alliance, Maulana Fazalur Rehman, has vowed that the rally will take place no matter what the government says or does.

A number of PDM supporters from across the city gathered at the Ghanta Ghar Chowk early Monday morning. All shops and markets have been closed down and the route to Gillani House has been sealed.

Workers with sticks in their hands are removing tankers and containers parked on routes leading to the rally site, Qasim Bagh. The government is at odds with PDM over the rally.

Photo: SAMAA TV

A sound system truck has also been placed outside former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani's house.

Maryam Nawaz speaks

PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz congratulated the people of Multan of kicking out Imran Khan, for pushing him out.

This is a difficult time for the Sharif family, she told the charged crowd. When there are difficult times, the women of the house come out, she said, praising Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, who was standing next to her.

She said her grandmother passed away recently but Nawaz Sharif told her on the phone that she must leave her grief at home. "Our sorrows are less than those of the the 220 million people living in Pakistan," she said.

Maryam also said she was told about her grandmother's death an hour and a half after the incident because the government had blocked mobile phone services at the Peshawar rally site.

Everyone was calling me, my father, my siblings, my children, but I couldn’t be told, she said. She recalled when a PTI worker broke into the ICU to take pictures of her dying mother, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.

Referring to Firdous Ashiq Awan, she said a "female minister" said the Sharifs were sending their mother back to Pakistan in a parcel. "Find me a more dedicated son in Pakistan other than Nawaz Sharif," she urged the crowd.

She accused the governments both current and previous of never letting the opposition attend the funerals of their families. She referred to the cases of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Akbar Bugti, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif's father.

This is their behavior with elected representatives, she said. Maryam also lamented that Musharraf was never kept in jail for even a day.

She praised former premier Yousaf Raza Gillani’s sons and said they stood against the government and did what they had to do. They were arrested ahead of the PDM rally.

The PML-N leader marvelled at how intelligent the coronavirus is. "What an intelligent corona we have. It stands outside rallies and if it's an opposition rally, it comes in but if it's a government rally it stays outside," she said.

"Corona asks first, is it a PDM rally or PML-N or PPP? Then I'll come in, if it's a government one then I'll go back," she said.

"At the JI rally there was no corona. When government ministers hold rallies there is no corona. It counts first, if there are 300 people and if there are more it will come in."

She said the lockdown was against the opposition.

But remember, she told the crowd, before COVID-19, there was COVID-18 and it must be sent home. "And that COVID-18 is called Imran Khan."

When he goes home, she said, COVID-19 will go too.

She asked what virus the country's economy had been infected with. "What about its prosperity, employment, rule of law, wheat theft, sugar theft or inflation? What virus were they infected with?" she asked.

Maryam reminded the crowd of a promise made by the PTI government for a South Punjab province. Was it fulfilled, she asked. "It was a fraud."

How’s the Rapid bus working, she asked. "The metro bus? They're fine right? You don't have to push them to get anywhere."

Maryam also discussed the PTI foreign funding case and said it has run on for six years. "Imran Khan is absconding in the case but still honest."

There is evidence of billions and trillions in foreign funding but he's honest, she said. The SBP has found fake accounts but he's honest, she said.

She vowed to take the matter to the Supreme Court and said there was Israeli involvement in the case.

Aseefa Bhutto Zardari

This selected will have to go now. said the PPP's Aseefa Bhutto Zardari.

She thanked the participants for turning up in large numbers despite opposition from the authorities.

"I am thankful to you all for gathering here in such large numbers despite the oppression and tyranny of this selected," she said. "You have given your verdict today. This selected will have to go now."

Aseefa told the participants she was among them at a time when her brother Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was down with the coronavirus.

She expressed her hopes that the people of Multan would support her the same way they supported Madar-e-Jamhuriyat Begum Nusrat Bhutto in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy and Dukhtar-e-Mashriq Benazir Bhutto.

Government, PDM at odds

The district administration of Multan has taken multiple measures to thwart the opposition alliance from holding the rally. For this reason, mobile service in the city has been suspended and security officials have been stationed on rally routes.

Vehicles mounted with water cannons and tear gas have also been called in in case of an emergency.

On Sunday [November 29], PDM workers broke into the stadium after which the police arrested them.

The group that charged into the stadium was led by Gilani's sons, the police claimed. A case has been registered at the Lohari Gate police station against 70 named and over 300 unidentified workers for breaking into the stadium.

Former premier Yousaf Raza Gillani’s son Ali Qasim Gillani has been detained for 30 days for mischief, violating the peace, and violating coronavirus SOPs. The order for his detention has been issued under Section 3 of the MPO Ordinance by Multan Deputy Commissioner Aamer Khattak.

Several other PDM workers have been arrested as well. Ali Haider Gillani, the former premier's other son, was arrested and later released.

On the other hand, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz said that if the government stops the rally, workers will take to the streets. "If they stop us, they will face the consequences."

In a first, PPP's Aseefa Bhutto will be addressing the rally today. According to reports, she has reached Multan. PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto will deliver his speech via video link. He has been quarantining after he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan asked the opposition parties to call off their rallies as the coronavirus situation in the country worsens. But the PDM has rejected this and vowed to rally in the city.

What is the Pakistan Democratic Movement?

The PDM, which comprises 11 opposition parties, has been staging anti-government rallies across Pakistan.

The first rally was held in Gujranwala on October 16, the second in Karachi on October 18, and the third in Quetta on October 25. The movement’s fifth rally was held in Peshawar on November 22 and its sixth is scheduled in Multan on November 30. The last rally will be held in Lahore on December 13.

The opposition members said there should be accountability for anyone accused of corruption, not just the opposition. At the rallies, the opposition leaders also challenged the country’s powerful establishment, accusing them of bringing the PTI government to power through systematic rigging.

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