PDM leaders bash PTI govt at Quetta rally

Mengal says no one is happy in Balochistan: Maryam’s donning traditional Balochi dress wins hearts

By: News Desk
Published: 02:48 PM, 25 Oct, 2020
PDM leaders bash PTI govt at Quetta rally
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The 11-party Opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) began its third power show in Quetta with leaders delivering speeches after one and other, lambasting the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan for the string of problems being faced by the public.

PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz were in attendance at the rally in Ayub Stadium while PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif were expected to address the public meeting via video link.


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Shah Owais Noorani

Taking the stage first, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan leader Shah Owais Noorani said Balochistan remained an underdeveloped province. He said the PDM will not accept one-sided accountability which is only against the opposition leaders including Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari. 

Shah Owais Noorani said: “The PDM under the leadership of Maulana Fazlur Rehman will achieve its goals.”

Sajid Mir

PML-N Senator and Ahl-i-Hadith leader Professor Sajid Mir said the incumbent government of Imran Khan is not a real representative of the people and has only been imposed on the masses. 

He demanded across-the-board accountability. “No one should be spared,” he added.

He also mentioned that whenever Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken notice of anything the price of that commodity had recorded sharp increase. “Please stop taking notices, so people can have a sigh of relief,” he added.

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

Former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader Raja Pervaiz Ashraf started his speech by counting the number of parties and people who are against Imran Khan. “People of Pakistan have decided that from now on the rulers will cry, not the masses,” Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said.

Raja explained why Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is not in PDM’s Quetta jalsa: “Bilawal Bhutto Zardari hosted the All Parties Conference (APC) that resulted in establishing the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to revive democracy in the country. He is not here but he supports the PDM’s struggle for restoration of the democracy.”

He chanted slogans ‘Go Imran Go, Go Imran Go’. Raja Ashraf questioned why the government has put so much restrictions amid the PDM jalsa.

“You lied to people of Pakistan. You made false promises in general elections. I want to ask from the people if they got any job as per the claims of the incumbent rulers. The rulers are stand exposed within two years,” he added.

Abdul Malik Baloch

Former Balochistan chief minister Abdul Malik Baloch said PDM's prime purpose is to restore democracy, seek free and fair elections and take the agencies away from the elections. He said: “When we go to rural Balochistan we are searched as if we are from another country.”

Amir Haider Khan

Awami National Party leader and former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Amir Haider Khan also spoke to the charged gathering of PDM jalsa and said there is dire need for provincial supremacy. He said on the same pattern, the first right on Gwadar should be of the people of Balochistan.

He said the federal government tried to capture the islands of Sindh and Balochistan by issuing an ordinance.

Aftab Ahmad Sherpao

Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao of Pashtun nationalist Qaumi Watan Party said his party also condemned the attack on the PML-N leader and her husband in Karachi.

He demanded whoever ordered such an attack must be brought under the law. He criticised the closure of mobile phone service in the opposition’s jalsa in the provincial capital. Sherpao also flayed the decision to stop MNA Mohsin Dawar from entering Balochistan.

He demanded fair general re-elections so that real rulers can serve the masses and solve their problems.

Akhter Mengal

On his turn, Balochistan National Party (Mengal) President Akhtar Mengal said: “If you will arrest the leadership of PDM then I am certain that you will need more jails to imprison people.”

“Quetta was termed Little London by the British and at one time fruits and vegetables’ smell was all over with smiles on faces from all ages and its streets were filled with laughters and chatters. But today it is filled with gunpowder smell. This is the blood of our youngster and elders,” Akhter Mengal said. 

“No one is happy in Balochistan whether he is Baloch or Pashtun,” Mengal said.

Mengal said Balochistan could not forget the time when Hazara community picked hundreds of coffins and sadly all that occurred in these times and not in British era.

He recited this couplet during his speech: Jab bhi watan ko zarurat humari parri, sab say pehlay garden humari katti; Phr bhi kehty hain ahl-e-watan, yeh chaman hay humara tmhra nahen!

Mengal said they will not be able stop the PDM’s voice. “Mohsin Dawar can address the National Assembly but he cannot deliver his speech in Balochistan. This shows the colonial-era approach,” Mengal said.

He said “You need a heart and guts to do politics.” He said: “CPEC provides large-scale roads but it cannot provide clean drinking water to Gwadar. CPEC got big roads and what did Gwadar get? People's lands have been taken over. Our islands are being taken away. Gwadar's islands are owned by their fishermen.”

Jalsa speakers sometimes addressed the crowd in Pashto and Balochi language but generally used the Urdu language for their speeches. The crowd whistled and shouted 'PDM Zindabad!' loudly from time to time and also waved flags for their parties.

Maryam wears Balochi dress

PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif donned a Balochi dress for the Quetta rally and has been praised for choosing a traditional regional dress on the eve of the PDM jalsa. 

PILDAT President Ahmed Bilal Mehboob in a tweet said: “Maryam Nawaz Sharif has displayed an intelligent and politically correct dress sense by donning a Balochi dress at the Quetta public rally.”


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Mobile phone, internet services suspended

The Balochistan government suspended mobile phone service and internet facility in Quetta on Sunday morning on the pretext of security concerns ahead of the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) power show.

The Balochistan government’s move has put questions on the speeches of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as both have planned to address the Quetta rally via video link.

Balochistan government Spokesman Liaquat Shahwani said the mobile phone service has been suspended from Saturday night.

Addressing a news conference in Quetta, he said there is a blanket ban on show of any kind of arms. The spokesperson said PDM leadership should ask their workers for cooperation.

The Balochistan government has also banned pillion riding in the provincial capital. In addition, the roads leading to the venue are also closed and heavy contingents of police have deployed.

Earlier, the Balochistan chief secretary directed the political parties holding the meeting to take the National Counter Terrorism Authority’s (NACTA) alert seriously. 

Chief Secretary Capt (retd) Fazeel Asghar also directed officials to enforce Section 144 in the provincial capital owing to the security of central PDM leadership.

Fazeel chaired a high-level meeting in Quetta to review the security plan for the opposition leaders as earlier the leadership was urged to defer the gathering due to security reasons in the provincial capital.

Not afraid of any of the steps taken by the provincial government, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz said the government is revealing its own incompetency.

Talking to a private TV channel, she said “If we didn’t hold this protest against the government the people wouldn’t see them what they truly are.”

Maryam declared that PDM's Quetta rally is going to be grand.