Friday, October 23, 2020

PDM protest in Gujranwala: Will Opposition parties fail today?

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Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan on Friday has predicted that public gathering of opposition parties in Gujranwala will fail today. Fayyazul Hassan Chohan in his statement maintained that the opposition parties have been allowed to hold protest while following strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent the covid-19 spread, reported ARY News.

“We are providing them face masks and water but they are now making this noise for no reason,” he said. He was responding to the allegations leveled by PML-N leaders. Maryam Nawaz, vice-President PML-N, has left for the protest. She also warned the government not to stop people from going to the protest rally.

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) president Maulana Fazl will leave for Gujranwala from Jamia Ashrafia on Ferozepur Road, Lahore. The JUI-F leadership has directed its supporters to reach the rally venue directly.

The coalition of opposition parties is like a ‘mixed pickle’. We can find those involved in nepotism, money laundering, fake telegraphic transfers, fake bank accounts, and destroyers of the country’s economy in these parties, said Fayyazul Hassan Chohan.

The minister further warned that if the conspiracies of opposition parties continue, it will have the worst effect on the economy. Prime Minister Imran Khan will continue to put Pakistan on the right path to flourish, he added.

Read More: Will Opposition resign from assemblies?

PDM, an alliance of major opposition parties is all set to hold its first public gathering in Gujranwala today. Preparations have been finalized.

“An attempt to challenge the authoritarian order”

Political analysts are viewing the PDM protest from different perspectives. Some analysts believe that the authoritarian political order is now being challenged by the democratic forces in Pakistan. A senior bureaucrat told GVS that “these are all those parties that got together to amend the Constitution on the demand for the Army Chief’s extension in service. Now they are doing what is necessary for them; to seek more political space or in the best case scenario replace the COAS’s blue-eyed man [PM Imran Khan]”.  “The overly authoritarian order is getting some semblance of democratic protest and movement,” he added.

Why PDM is important for Opposition?

Ahmad Ali Naqvi, Lecturer in Political Science at PU, Lahore, told GVS that; “PDM show of power is attributed to multiple factors: Firstly, it is meant to create a deterrence effect for the upcoming senate elections where traditionally party members violate party discipline and thus could further weaken opposition parties if they lose crucial elections. Second, the protests are meant to deter any alleged rigging in upcoming elections in GB. Thirdly, October and November are generally ideal months for political activity due to better weather conditions”.

“Lastly, weak governance performance of the incumbent government has provided the opportunity to PDM to be able to attract masses,” he added.

Read More: Fawad Chaudhry urges Opposition to postpone public gathers for three months

This gathering should be a lesson for the current government of the perils of bad governance. At best, this show of power is likely to strengthen the bargaining position of opposition parties on certain issues viz a viz PTI led government and establishment.

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