PESHAWAR - Chief of Opposition’s alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Fazlur Rahman said Saturday that the biggest virus facing Pakistan was the government itself, adding the PDM’s Peshawar rally will go ahead as planned under all circumstances.

Talking to media persons in Peshawar, the PDM head Maulana Fazl said that despite ‘illegitimate’ government’s efforts, opposition will hold its rally in Peshawar. He said that Sunday’s historic rally will wrap up the PTI government.

Addressing these concerns, Maulana said the government was only touting the dangers of coronavirus since it sees no other way of stopping PDM rallies. “This illegitimate government itself is the biggest virus, ridding the nation of its rule will be the biggest reprieve,” he added. This statement comes at a time when the country is facing a serious spike in coronavirus cases with the number of deaths also on the rise.

Chief of his own faction Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and PDM head Malana Fazl claimed that PTI came to power by stealing the public mandate and the system must be changed, so that results cannot be faked. He said the organizational structure of PDM had been completed and all parties were moving forward with complete unity.

Fazl further said: “This government is the representative of a stolen mandate. It is not the representative of the people. A historic rally will take place today (Sunday) in Peshawar,” he vowed, adding the next rally will be held on November 26 in Larkana which his party, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl will host. The PDM chief said the Opposition will not allow the government to rest at any juncture in the movement. He said another rally will take place on November 30 in Multan.

“While we talk about COVID-19, we should also think of the COVID-18 (government) pandemic”

About the government’s warnings against holding rallies, he said that they found no other excuse, so started raising ‘hue and cry’ about the spread of coronavirus. “This illegitimate government itself is a big corona, he said, adding: “While we talk about COVID-19, we should also think of the COVID-18 (government) pandemic.”

The PDM chief said that Opposition’s campaign against government had reached its peak and the organizational structure of the movement was now complete.

Taking a jibe at PM Imran Khan, he said: “One Trump [has left office], we will send the Pakistani Trump packing too.” He said the country’s situation could be assessed by looking at Peshawar’s BRT.

Maulana Fazl said PDM had already announced its manifesto and objectives of the campaign and also completed its organisational structure, as all the political parties under the banner of PDM had unanimous on the agenda and notion of this public movement.

“We represent every school of thought and every section of the country,” Maulana claimed. Referring to a State Bank of Pakistan report stating that country’s GDP growth had plunged to 0.4 percent, he said that due to the financial crisis, the country’s very existence was at stake. He observed that the world politics had rapidly changed as the time had come for “Pakistan’s Trump” to be “removed” from office, in a reference to the apparent ousting of the US President Donald Trump from the seat of power by the popular vote. 

The Opposition, he said had decided it will push ahead with the Peshawar rally at Dalazak Road, Ring Road Chowk despite city administration denying permission for a gathering there.

It is to mention here that a notification issued on Friday by the Peshawar deputy commissioner’s office said the matter was considered by the district administration and capital city police under Section 144 of the KP Civil Administration Act 2020. The government officials did a field assessment and held a meeting with the rally organizers. 

Citing a November 2, notification issued by the KP government banning large public gatherings owing to the rising coronavirus positivity rate in the province, the deputy commissioner denied permission to hold the rally “after considering all aspects, and to safeguard human lives due to potential spread of COVID-19.” However, the PDM is not ready to back down. Its media coordinator, Jalil Jan, said the rally will be held as planned on November 22.