The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has announced its first phase of nationwide agitations–beginning October 16 from Gujranwala–in a bid to oust the Imran Khan-led PTI government from Islamabad, which has, over the past two years, displayed its unapparelled capabilities of lying prostrate before the Islamic country’s military establishment and deep state like no other civilian government of the past. Importantly, PDM, as it is being called, is a first of its kind conglomeration of possibly all major political parties of Pakistan, except the PTI, of course, who have come under one umbrella organization to resuscitate democracy in Pakistan, coupled with demands of the highly-intrusive Pakistani Army withdrawing from the political structures of the country back to its barracks.
The 11-party opposition alliance, consisting of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Awami National Party (ANP), the Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam (JUI), and others have announced plans to initiate nationwide protests from October 16 up to January, which will include massive street agitations, protest gatherings, political rallies, no-confidence moves, en masse resignations from assemblies and, finally, a long march and sit-in in the country’s capital Islamabad until their demands are met.
The PDM’s steering committee at its meeting on Monday released a schedule of six public meetings in the four provinces. Under its first phase of protests, the PDM would hold its second public meeting in Karachi on October 18, third in Quetta on October 25, fourth in Peshawar on November 22, fifth in Multan on November 30 and the last one in Lahore on December 13. The PDM has Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl(JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman as its first phase President, even as Raja Pervez Ashraf of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)has been elected as senior vice-president, while PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has been nominated as the movement’s secretary-general.
It is perhaps for the very first time that 11 major opposition political parties have decided to unabashedly take to the streets to demand the ouster of a Prime Minister that was elected by the Pakistan Army as the leader of the Islamic nation’s civilian government. Over the past two years, Imran Khan has successfully grounded the already crippled economy of Pakistan, while also pursuing a solely anti-India agenda, leading to him ignoring Pakistan’s internal woes. Around the world, due to his incessant harping on the fictitious Pakistani narrative over Kashmir, Imran Khan has led his country’s movement to get isolated.
With only Turkey and China remaining to be called as the terror state’s friends, Imran Khan has also infuriated the Saudi-led Arab world, who are covertly supporting the man’s ouster from Islamabad. A multiplicity of internal and external issues, therefore, has forced the opposition parties of Pakistan to gather under one umbrella and work towards restoring whatever little democracy the country had prior to Imran Khan’s coronation as the military puppet.
The Pakistan Democratic Movement has prepared a 26-point charter of demands, and interestingly, the same has not shied away from making it crystal clear that the opposition parties of Pakistan will settle for nothing less than ending “political engineering” by a “state above the state” (Pakistan Army) and ensuring that all state organs are strictly run as mandated under the law.“The (military) establishment should desist from interfering in the politics and end supporting a ‘selected government’ which miserably failed to deliver on good governance, economy and foreign policy,” PDM Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said in a statement after the multiparty conference last month which chalked out the movement’s future strategies.
Last month, at the same multiparty conference, Nawaz Sharif explained how the sanctity of people’s vote has always been trampled upon by the Pakistani Army. He also reminded the conglomeration of opposition leaders about the fact that no elected Prime Minister of the country has been able to complete a five-year tenure, owing to the military’s heavy and brazen involvement in the politics and governance of the country. He described this phenomenon as a “state above the state”. Meanwhile, his daughter, Maryam Nawaz Sharif too is pulling no punches and has initiated an all guns blazing offensive against the military establishment of Pakistan.
Bilawal Bhutto from the PPP, too, has taken to mount an aggressive campaign against the Pakistan Army, saying it has no business getting involved in the country’s political and governance-related affairs. The Pakistan Army and deep state, therefore, is faced with a real threat this time around, as there should be no doubt in the ability to 11 opposition parties to gather the manpower to put up a massive show of strength and lead rather uncomfortable agitations all across the country. This, coupled with the fact that Maryam Nawaz Sharif has also taken Sindhi, Balochi and Pashtun activists into confidence, could very well serve as the death knell of Pakistan Army and its authoritarianism.