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PDM hints at marching towards rawalpindi; parties will contest by-polls

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the president of the Pakistan Democratic Movement, said on Friday that the opposition would announce its long march after the expiry of January 31 deadline for the government to resign.

 “The date will be announced and let me also tell you that it (PDM’s leadership) will also decide whether the long march should be towards Islamabad or Rawalpindi.” Maulana Fazl said, while speaking to reporters along with PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz and others.

PDM leaders said that member parties of the alliance will take part in the by-polls, but a decision related to the Senate elections will be taken later.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the PDM leaders in Raiwind, Rehman said news of rifts within the PDM was run on media as part of a “campaign”, but stressed that such rumours had died today.

“PDM has come out stronger than before and is more determined than before to rid the nation of this illegitimate government,” said the PDM chief, speaking alongside other top opposition leaders including PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz but not PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

“We agree that the establishment has held the entire system hostage by turning Pakistan into a deep state. Imran Khan is a pawn [and] the people who did rigging and imposed him upon the nation, we want to make it clear [to them that] we blame the establishment and army leadership for this,” the PDM chief said.

He continued: “The direction of our criticism will now be manifestly aimed at them (establishment). Now it is for them to decide whether they will further sink their claws on Pakistan’s politics or retreat and move towards their constitutional responsibilities.”

Rehman said the PDM considered the army “as our army” and it respected all generals. “But when this defence power interferes in politics forgoing its professional duties, it creates confusions,” he added, attributing Pakistan’s alleged constitutional, political and economic crises to this “transgression”.

“All parties are unanimous that the movement’s direction should not be turned only towards the pawn but also against his backers.”

He announced that the PDM will stage a demonstration in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan offices in Islamabad on January 19, while a similar protest was being planned to be held in front of the National Accountability Bureau HQ as well.

Adding to the topic of resignations, PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz Sharif said that her party members have already submitted their resignations to her.

She added that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) will not contest the Senate elections without a consensus on the matter. “Negotiations [within the PDM] are currently going on with regard to the Senate elections. When the time is near, we will make a decision,”

she said, adding that the 11-party Opposition alliance will contest the Senate elections only if a consensus to do so is reached between all members.

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