After having a meeting at the JUI-F seminary in Multan, the PDM leaders spoke to the media.
A day earlier, while attempting to overcome barricades to enter the site of the rally organised by the PPP on the occasion of its founding day, PDM activists clashed with the Multan government. Over 25 PDM officials, including Gilani’s son Qasim Ali Gilani and former MPA Javed Siddiqui, were rounded up by police and a crane that had been taken to the rally stadium was also confiscated. Even baton-charged were civic demonstrators who had set up beds at the site of the public meeting.
The PDM is adamant about staging its fifth power show in Multan after organising a rally in Peshawar amid the government banning political rallies in the face of the increase in coronavirus cases.
In view of the second wave of Covid-19, Prime Minister Imran Khan has ruled out granting the opposition parties permission to hold their public meetings and has asked him to call them off.
The JUI-F leader told reporters that in Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan, opposition activists were being detained.
He added that in January next year the PDM had planned its long march to Islamabad, but the actions of the government could cause the alliance to stage it sooner.
The Maulana further claimed that due to the rise in Covid-19 incidents, the government had not granted permission to the alliance to hold its power show in Peshawar, but then the PTI went on to stage a rally in Swat.
PML-N chief Sanaullah, speaking on the occasion, said the party’s vice president, Maryam Nawaz, must clear all the hurdles put in place by the authorities to attend the Multan rally.
“For three years, Imran Khan has been promising that he won’t spare anybody. We’re not going to spare him anymore,” he said.
Gilani of the PPP said that instead of her brother, party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari will address the rally. Both Bilawal and his father, former president Asif Ali Zardari, would not participate in the rally because they are unwell.
Gilani condemned Saturday’s detention of his son and other PDM leaders and activists, stating that the high-handedness of the government had assured the success of the opposition rally long before it occurred.
He [PM Imran] had vowed to supply the opposition parties with containers and food if they held a protest. “As the containers arrived, he kept half of that promise,” he said, referring to the barriers put up in Multan to discourage the PDM from conducting its power display.
The Multan administration has banned from the Qasim Bagh stadium the flags of opposition parties and closed its gates to deter the PDM from staging its rally.
According to the government, the application by the PDM to stage a public meeting to shield people from Covid-19 was denied.
Federal Media and Broadcasting Minister Shibli Faraz urged the JUI-F leader to stop’ instigating conflict’ in connection with the clashes in Multan.
Federal Communications and Postal Services Minister Murad Saeed, addressing a news conference in Islamabad, said the PDM leadership was disappointed after suffering a setback in the Gilgit-Baltistan elections and the collapse of the Peshawar alliance rally.
“In defiance of the NCOC directives, those who advocated a complete lockdown during the first coronavirus wave are now organising public rallies,” he said.
He advised the opposition parties not to place people’s lives at risk and in the broader national interest, to cancel their election rallies.
In a tweet, Shahbaz Gill, Special Assistant to the PM on Political Communication, alleged that the PDM paid people to attend its rally in Multan. He said The PPP failed to gather people for the Multan rally.” He further said that PDM’s anti-state narrative was dismissed by the country.