LAHORE - President Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Maulana Fazlur Rehman Wednesday announced to kick start the anti-government movement from Gujranwala on October 16 terming it an epoch-making public protest that would set the tone of the ensuing rallies by the opposition parties.

Talking to the media at Jati Umra residence of Sharifs where he went to meet PML-N’s Vice-President Maryama Nawaz Sharif along with his delegation, the Maulana said that Gujranwala rally would be followed by a big rally at Karachi on October 18 and similar public gathering at Quetta on October 25.  

Prior to his media talk, Maulana Fazlur Rehman discussed the latest political situation and the future course of action of the PDM movement with the PML-N leadership. Issues relating to Shehbaz’s arrest and cases of sedition against opposition leaders also came under discussion in the meeting.

It was Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s first meeting with the PML-N leadership as head of the PDM.

Maulana expressed his optimism that Opposition’s protest movement will awaken the people and they will come on roads to build pressure to oust the ‘illegitimate’ government. He said PDM will emerge as a ray of hope for the people who according to him were sick of the incumbent government for its flawed internal and external policies.

He told media persons that PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal had been assigned responsibility of contacting other political parties for better coordination on the issues to be highlighted on the platform of the PDM. “We want to give the people a legitimate government and a parliamentary system through this movement,” he said.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman parried a question about the possible elevation of Maryam Nawaz as a country’s prime minister as a result of the protest movement from the PDM platform. “At the moment, we are fighting for the rights of both men and women to elect their own government,” he smilingly said.

Answering a question, the PDM president said that opposition’s alliance had no enmity with the army. Asked if the PDM will launch a civil disobedience movement, he said that the government will fall before this step. “A civil disobedience movement is launched at a particular point in a movement. But I think the need for such a step will not arise,” he said.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif said that Opposition parties were not targeting the institutions. It was rather the government that was dragging the institutions into politics, she added. Maryam also accused the government of causing what she called “Fall of Kashmir”.  

She said the PDM will fight the case of safeguarding people’s mandate and the case of protecting the constitution. She said the movement will get impetus if the government makes use of force. She said the government had changed the Gujranwala administration even before the first PDM rally.

Also, according to a press release issued by the party’s media wing, Maryam congratulated Fazlur Rehman for assuming the charge of the PDM. She also thanked the JUI-F chief for condemning the arrest of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif.

She also talked about the curbs imposed on the media by the present government that was using Pemra, NAB, FIA and other institutions to prevent people from speaking the truth

Also, in his media talk prior to meeting Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that PDM was also considering a plan to go to Islamabad for a sit-in  

Responding to a question about PM Imran Khan that he was not afraid of the opposition’s alliance, the Maulana said that he [PM] was sweating profusely. “You have no idea,” he said with a smile on his face.