KARACHI - Leaders of different opposition parties on Sunday lashed out at the PTI-government particularly Prime Minister Imran Khan as they gathered in Karachi as part of Pakistan Democratic Movement’s second power show hosted by the Pakistan Peoples’ Party.

PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, PML-N vice presidents Maryam Nawaz and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chairman Mehmood Achakzai were among those who addressed the protest rally.

Hundreds of supporters of the opposition parties welcomed the leaders at the venue, dancing to the beat of PPP’s anthem.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman while addressing the participants of the rally ridiculed Prime Minister Imran Khan over his Saturday’s speech, saying “he[PM] always makes a blunder whenever he speaks.”

Fazl said for the last two years, opposition parties had been forced to accept the PTI-led government which he claimed came into power through “unprecedented rigging in 2018 elections”. PDM’s prime objective is to restore genuine democracy in the country and we will not backtrack from this principled stance, said the head of the opposition alliance.

“Come what may we will not accept this government,” he said. “Pakistan is incomplete without us… Pakistan and its economy can only prosper when all of its institutions work within their Constitutional limits,” Fazl said, adding that no constitutional amendments against the provincial autonomy would be accepted by the opposition parties.

PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, while addressing the rally, alleged that conspiracies are being hatched to separate Karachi from Sindh while accusing the federal government of depriving the masses of their basic rights. “Attempts are being made to snatch the rights of the people of Sindh and Rs300 billion were not given to Sindh under NFC award,” he said and warned the federal government against “occupying” the islands near Karachi’s shore.

The PPP chief also paid tribute to the martyrs of Karsaz incident on its 13th anniversary, saying “they sacrificed their lives to write a new chapter in the country’s history”.

Bilawal said his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and mother Benzair sacrificed their lives to strengthen the democracy in the country. “We have to fight a war for the supremacy of law, democracy and Constitution.”

The PPP stalwart said opposition’s struggle is not for the power but to ensure the right of the masses via real democratic system.

“All those doors are being closed through which rights of the masses can be ensured,” he alleged. He said in the absence of democracy, the decisions are being made to protect the interest of few people. Bilawal claimed that ‘selected’ Prime Minister Imran Khan was unaware of the issues being faced by masses including historic inflation and rising poverty.

Earlier, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz in her maiden address at PPP-hosted rally lashed out at the Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying she considered it “below dignity to respond to his allegations”.

She was responding to the hard-hitting speech of PM Imran wherein he mocked Maryam by calling her “Nani” [grandmother].

“I am thankful to Allah that I am not a grandmother of only one child but of two,” she said, adding that being a grandmother is matter of great pride for her. “When I came to Karachi... I remembered Benazir Bhutto. I just met her once and she spent three hours with me and treated me as a mother would in that time. I will never forget her kindness,” said the PML-N vice president.

“You could tell how one jalsa of ours [Gujranwala rally] made PM Imran Khan shudder in his speech yesterday,” she said. “Bilawal Bhutto respects me like his elder sister and we will always show respect for each other despite any differences,” she remarked.

Maryam expressed gratitude to the PPP leadership for giving her historic welcome in the Sindh capital, saying” “I did not find any difference between the streets of Lahore and Karachi”.

PM Imran has panicked after opposition’s first PDM rally which was clearly visible on his face, said Maryam, advising him to learn how to react during difficult time from former PM Nawaz Sharif. “When he [Imran Khan] staged a sit in Islamabad, Nawaz Sharif did not panic for once and dealt with him comfortably.”

She also said that PDM’s struggle was not against PM Imran-led government. “You have nothing to do in the fight of elders. You selected PM are just working on salary…”

Responding to allegations that her father Nawaz is speaking Indian Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s language, Maryam said: “You [PM Imran] prayed for the success of Modi [in elections], passed an ordinance to help Kulbhushan [Indian spy] and compromised the issue of Kashmir.” She asked PM Imran to stop dragging army into “dirty politics” and stop being a spokesperson of the military. The PML-N stalwart said her party salutes the Pakistan Army and those officers and soldiers who act within their Constitutional limits.

The crowd waved flags of the various political parties represented by the PDM. Bilawal thanked the enthusiastic crowd and welcomed the JUI-F chief and PML-N vice president.