PDM announces 12-point ‘Charter of Pakistan’, rejects GB election outcome

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Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Tuesday announced the goals and principles of the 11-party opposition alliance — the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

The ‘Charter of Pakistan’, established by the opposition alliance, lists a dozen goals which include:

  • ensuring supremacy and protection of federal, democratic, parliamentary and Islamic constitution’s supremacy
  • independence of Parliament
  • distancing establishment and intelligence agencies from politics
  • establishing an independent judiciary
  • reforms for free and fair elections
  • protection of the public’s basic and democratic rights
  • protection of provincial rights and 18th Amendment
  • establishment of an effective mechanism for local governments
  • protection of freedom of expression and independent media
  • elimination of extremism and terrorism
  • introducing an emergency economic package to eliminate poverty, inflation and unemployment
  • protection and implementation of Islamic sections of Constitution

The charter was announced by Rehman after a meeting of the PDM in Islamabad.

Addressing the media after the meeting, the JUI-F chief said that the alliance had “rejected” the results of the Gilgit-Baltistan elections, adding that the polls were a “replay of 2018 general elections”. He declared that the elections were “stolen” from the masses and “state machinery and institutions were used freely”.

Rehman, who is also president of the PDM, said that the GB polls had proven the PDM’s stance on the 2018 elections as true and vowed that the alliance will not “sit back until this selected government goes home”.

The complete but unofficial results of all the 23 constituencies, where polling was held on Sunday, show that the PTI has emerged as the single largest party with 10 seats, followed by seven independents. The PPP won three seats, the PML-N two and the Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen, which had a seat adjustment arrangement with the PTI, got one seat.

With the possible inclusion of four, out of six reserved seats for women, and two out of three reserved seats for technocrats, the total number of seats of the PTI and its allies will become 16 in the 33-member GBLA, indicating that it will need the support of only one more winning candidate to form the government.

In his press talk today, Rehman also said that PDM’s “momentum will be increased” and all rallies and public meetings will be held as per schedule.

“We reject the decision that is being taken to suspend rallies and public meetings in the garb of coronavirus,” he told reporters. The PDM, which has already held public meetings in Gujranwala, Karachi and Quetta, is now scheduled to hold public meetings in Peshawar on November 22, in Multan on November 30 and in Lahore on December 13. The PDM has already given the call for a long march to Islamabad in January next year to seek the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

However, the government has hinted at banning public meetings and rallies in light of rising coronavirus cases.

When asked about Prime Minister Imran’s announcement regarding the introduction of electoral reforms earlier today, Rehman said: “They (government) are used to rigging. They are trying to pressurise other members [of Parliament] and this will not happen. We are taking measures to block this but we won’t tell you about this at this stage.”

The premier had said that the government has decided to move a constitutional amendment in Parliament to introduce a ‘show of hands’ during voting in the Senate elections, instead of secret ballots, as part of its efforts to bring about electoral reforms in the country.

In response to another question, the JUI-F chief said that PDM will not hold talks with the government as the latter “does not represent masses”.