PDM’s Quetta Rally: Questions being raised

A curtain-raiser of Opposition alliance's third show of people power in Quetta

By: Salim Bokhari      Published: 08:44 PM, 24 Oct, 2020
PDM’s Quetta Rally: Questions being raised
JUI-F workers have alreday filled Ayub Stadium one day of PDM's gathering in Quetta.

Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid, a self-claimed spokesman of the ruling elite and national security agencies has said Prime Minister Imran Khan is willing to engage Opposition for a dialogue provided they call off their protest holding rallies in different major cities seeking fresh election and departure of the illegitimate PTI government.

Until very recently the Prime Minister and a whole lot of ministers, advisers, special assistants and spokesmen have been making tall claims that under no circumstances, Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf government would initiate a negotiation process with the Opposition.  

This change in the ruling elite’s behaviour could only be due to the recently held rallies in Gujranwala and Karachi by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) where people turned out in huge numbers.

The PDM chief Maulana Fazalur Rehman has in a recent interaction with the Press has said now Imran Khan was seeking NRO from the opposition which would be denied to him.

The third rally is planned for tomorrow (Sunday) in Quetta for which Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) vice president Marriyum Nawaz, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazalur Rehman has already reached the Balochistan capital city.

Mohsin Dawar was not allowed to enter Quetta and was stopped at the city’s airport. It may be recalled that the Balochistan Government had banned Mohsin Dawarr and Ali Wazir’s entry into the province since July 29 for 90 days.

Meanwhile, the PDM sources have indicated that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to address the Quetta rally tomorrow. Nawaz Sharif addressed Gujranwala rally that sent ripples in the ranks of the ruling elite terming it as ‘an act of high treason’.

The PTI spokesmen and top leadership created a storm accusing the PML-N leader of attacking the security institutions and called him acting on Indian agenda as Modi’s agent.  

Another issue that will dominate the speeches likely to be delivered at the Quetta rally is the arrest of Capt Safdar under allegedly mysterious circumstances by trespassing their privacy in a hotel room where they were lodged after the Karachi’s PDM rally for violation of the sanctity of the Quaid-e-Azam’s Mausoleum.  

It may be pointed out that in the past Imran Khan had led a rally to the Quaid’s Mausoleum and his workers indulged in creating a violent situation. Yet, no action was initiated by the authorities at that time.

Similarly, these sources say that Pakistan people’s Party Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would address the rally on video links from Gilgit Baltistan where he is engaged in the election campaign of the forthcoming elections. Earlier, he expressed the possibility of him going to Quetta on a special plane.  

In an attempt to stop the rally, Chief Secretary Balochistan has expressed his fear that people coming to participate in the rally from across the country would bring Covid 19 virus with them and thus endanger the local population. It is also learnt that the authorities in the province have expressed fears of terrorist activities taking place due to huge gathering.

In was under these apprehensions that the venue of the meeting was changed from Hockey Chowk to Ayub Stadium due to security concerns. In addition, these actions, the authorities have also imposed a ban on pillion riding for 24 hours. This was as a reaction to Nacta’s warning regarding terror threat to the political leaders of the PDM.  

Quetta is regarded as the hub of JUI (F) party and its chief Maulana Fazalur Rehman has already held three million marches here and on all three occasions massive turn-out was evident.

It was earlier indicated by Maulana Fazalur Rehman at a press conference in Lahore that PDM have all necessary elements to launch a successful movement and added as far as the turn-out in proposed rallies was concerned, his party would take care of it.

The footage of the preparations for the rally in Quetta as aired by different channels show a large number of PDM workers, majority of which are of course JUI carry out the various task on the ground besides setting up the stage.

A large number of JUI guards were seen in the Stadium taking over security positions to rule out any terrorist action. It may be mentioned that when Maulana staged a sit-in at Peshawar Road outside Islamabad, these guards ensured in breach of peace among the participants.

Categories : Opinion