Over 3,000 PDM activists in Pakistan booked for organising rally defying COVID-19 guidelines

M Zulqernain
·2-min read

Lahore, Dec 2 (PTI) Over 3,000 activists of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), including three sons of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, have been booked by police in Punjab province for holding an anti-government rally in violation of the COVID-19 and public safety guidelines.

The PDM, an alliance of 11 Opposition parties, organised the rally on Monday evening at Multan’s Ghanta Ghar Chowk after days of conflict between the city administration and the Opposition workers over having the event at a time when the government has warned against large gatherings because of a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.

The Opposition parties, including the main Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), also pledged to hold a march to Islamabad next month to oust the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Police on Tuesday night booked over 3,000 Opposition activists, including three sons of former prime minister Gilani, under various charges.

Special Assistant to the Punjab Chief Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said the FIR has been registered against the organisers of the PDM rally in Multan for committing various violations of the law.

“The PDM in Multan violated the court order as well as COVID-19 SOPs. We cannot allow the Opposition to play with the lives of the people,” she said.

The government says the court has banned public gathering in the wake of COVID-19 but the Opposition says it is not a specific order related to its rallies.

Slain premier Banazir Bhutto’s daughter Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari launched her political career during the rally.

The rally was also addressed by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-(F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PML-N Vice President and Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam along with other PDM leaders.

Maryam took on the Pakistan Army and ISI chiefs for providing “full support” to Prime Minister Khan.

“A clumsy driver (Imran) is put in the driving seat of Pakistan and two of his selectors (Gen Bajwa and Gen Hameed) are pushing the bus with full force and yet the bus is not moving,” she said.

Sharif, the 70-year-old supreme leader of the PML-N who was ousted from power in 2017 by the apex court on graft charges, had last month for the first time directly named Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI head Lt Gen Faiz Hameed for interfering in the general elections of 2018 to ensure victory of Khan.

The next rally of the PDM is scheduled in Lahore on December 13. After that the PDM has announced marching to Islamabad to oust the 'puppet regime' of Khan. PTI MZ RS AKJ RS