PESHAWAR - The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) put on a show of power with a rally in Peshawar on Sunday with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari vowing an “end” to the incumbent government with January as its “last month in power”.

Shortly after the rally concluded, Minister for Information Shibli Faraz briefly appeared on television, pleading to all participants to quarantine themselves so the spread of coronavirus can be curbed. The gathering was held despite failing to procure permission to do so in light of rising coronavirus cases as well as a warning given by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government of a threat to security.

In view of reports received of a possible terror attack on the gathering, strict security arrangements were made.

The central leadership of the PDM, including Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maryam Nawaz, Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Aimal Wali Khan, Sardar Akhtar Mengal and Aftab Sherpao, were all present on stage, with a series of speeches by various political leaders delivered one after another.

PDM Chief Fazlur Rehman was the last to address the event. He regretted PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz was unable to attend and expressed his condolences over the death of her grandmother Shamim Akhtar.

He also extended his condolences to the families of Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi over their passing away.

Fazl-ur-Rehman said that all political parties agree and it is the movement’s “clear stance” that the incumbent government came to power through a “rigged election”.

He said with the huge turnout witnessed in all the PDM rallies so far, the government has been “left bewildered”.

The PDM chief said that large rallies were held at Gujranwala, Quetta and Karachi and , the Peshawar rally is a referendum. The people have “rejected the rigged government”, he said.

“We have declared war, retreating from the battlefield is a grave sin,” he added.

Fazl-ur-Rehman accused the government of “destroying” Pakistan’s economy and remaining unsuccessful on the diplomatic front. “You are unreliable in the eyes of the nation and its neighbours,” he said.

“We have come together to save the country,” Fazl-ur-Rehman said, adding: “The future of the country is insecure under the rule of these people.”

“We will make the country the Pakistan it was meant to be — a nation with the rule democracy and the supremacy of the parliament,” he said.

He said the Opposition will “never compromise on NFC (National Finance Commission) award” and the province’s  due rights.