'PDM parties agree no woman to attend public gathering'
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders have met in Karachi before Sunday’s public gathering with Maulana Fazal ur Rehman bringing up resignations once again. The event, however, was overshadowed by a JUI leader’s assertion that women were not allowed to attend the public gathering.
PDM head and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman later made clear that women will be part of the event.
Speaking after the meeting, Rehman also announced that PDM would hold nationwide demonstrations against the government. He said the programme for protests would be set at another meeting in the first week of September.
Earlier, Maulana Fazlur Rehman chaired the PDM meeting which Pakistan Muslim League President Shehbaz Sharif and many other leaders attended in person. PML-N supremo Mian Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz Sharif participated through the video link.
Other leaders present included Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Sajid Mir, Owais Noorani, Aftab Sherpao and Mohammad Zubair.
The meeting was held at a local hotel.
Fazul Rehman said it was the right time to launch a protest movement against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and to take the ultimate step of resigning from the parliament, SAMAA TV reported.
The PDM has also decided to release a whitepaper on the federal government’s three-year performance, it said.
However, the parties failed to agree on the issue of resignation, the TV reported.
Pakistan’s People Party (PPP) is still absent from PDM meetings and it is not likely to attend Sunday’s public gathering.
When Fazul Rehman entered the conference hall, reporters asked him if PDM had invited the PPP. Maulana did not answer the question, but his face told it all, SAMAA TV said.
JUI-F Sindh General Secretary Rashid Soomro said PPP’s absence from the gathering was not important.
The PDM is preparing to hold a public gathering at Karachi’s Bagh-e-Jinnah on Sunday.
JUI-F has set up a huge stage to accommodate as many as 500 people, according to a party spokesman.
At least 10,000 JUI-F volunteers will guard the gathering and escort leaders to the stage from the VIP entryway at the back of the venue, the spokesman said. The JUI-F has also set up toilets, ablution places, and canteens.
Speaking to journalists at Bag-e-Jinnah, Soomro announced that no woman was to attend PDM’s rally on Sunday. He claimed PDM’s member parties had made the decision with consensus.
PML-N’s Maryam Aurangzeb, however, denied that any such decision was made about women participation. She said active participation of women was expected in the rally.
Later, Maulana Fazalur Rehman said that women were to participate in the public gathering.
Soomro also said madrasa students would openly attend the gathering. He was responding to a question about the government criticism of the PDM gathering.
In the past, PTI government ministers have criticized the JUI-F for making madrasa students participate in public gatherings to show strength. JUI-F runs the largest network of madrasas in the country.