Because of coronavirus, prayers in Holy Kaaba can be suspended, but not PDM rallies

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 03:46 PM, 18 Nov, 2020
Because of coronavirus, prayers in Holy Kaaba can be suspended, but not PDM rallies

Tuesday’s decision of the Pakistan Democratic Movement to proceed with its rallies, the schedule for which has already been announced, despite the ban imposed by the government in the wake of the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases in the country, sounds quite illogical, unrealistic.

At a time when the number of deaths and infections caused by the resurging pandemic are increasing by the day, there is an urgent need for more precautionary measures to save lives.

In the unfolding situation, everybody is required to pay his/her role in this regard and perform it as their national duty.

But talking to reporters after the 11-party alliance’s meeting in Islamabad, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is the president of the PDM, said the participants had rejected the government’s decision to suspend rallies and public gatherings on the “pretext” of Covid-19.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had already cancelled the PTI’s public meetings in various cities because of the fear of the contagious disease, urging the opposition parties to take their own decision.  

“Until a day before yesterday, the ruling party was itself holding rallies”, he argued to justify the coalition’s decision to go-ahead with its earlier schedule.

“The entire country is open. This ban has been imposed because they [government] fear the PDM. We will step up our movement and not rest until the government is sent packing. The rallies will go ahead as scheduled”, said the Maulana, who was defeated in the 2018 elections on both seats he was contesting from.

The PDM rallies are scheduled to take place in Peshawar on November 22, in Multan on November 30 and in Lahore on December 13.

Arrangements are being made by the alliance components to bring maximum people to the rallies.

The alliance has already staged rallies in Gujranwala, Karachi and Quetta.

The opposition alliance is now working on a new charter for ensuring the supremacy and protection of federal, democratic, parliamentary and Islamic constitution's supremacy; independence of parliament, ousting the establishment and intelligence agencies from politics; establishing an independent judiciary, reforms for free and fair elections; protection of the public's basic and democratic rights; protection of provincial rights and 18th Amendment, establishment of an effective mechanism for local governments; protection of freedom of expression and independent media; elimination of extremism and terrorism; introducing an emergency economic package to eliminate poverty, inflation and unemployment; and protection and implementation of Islamic sections of Constitution.

No matter how important these goals, people’s lives are more important.

The PDM leaders should not forget that even prayers at the Grand Mosque (Makkah) and Prophet’s Mosque (Madinah) had been suspended by the Saudi authorities for months to save people from the pandemic.  

Because of this, the Umrah operation remained suspended for long as a result of which the kingdom lost business of billions of dollars.

The authorities were more than careful about the pandemic.

They ensured that no foreigner should bring the fatal disease to the kingdom – and thus spread the same among visitors from other countries.

The pandemic remained under control despite deaths caused by it.

The two Holy Mosques have only recently been reopened and the Umrah operation resumed after several months.

Obviously, the PDM campaign against the PTI government is not more important than the Umrah operation and prayers in the two Holy Mosques.

It can be resumed once the corona situation is controlled.

Many people think that the opposition alliance should hold talks with the PTI government to find a solution to the problem.

The prime minister has already expressed his willingness to share the table with the opposition, making it clear that cases pending against various leaders were not negotiable.

Regrettably, the PDM president in Tuesday’s media talk ruled out any chances of negotiations with the government, saying that the ruling PTI did not represent the people.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman can be rightly asked if the PTI did not represent the people whose representative was the opposition alliance’s chief, especially after being defeated on both the NA seats he was a candidate from in the 2018 elections?