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PDM calls on Sindh to join struggle for PM’s ouster, ‘snatch back stolen rights’

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PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari (L) and PDM Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, addressing a rally in Hyderabad, February 9, 2021. — PPI

The Pakistan Democratic Movement held a public gathering in Hyderabad on Tuesday during which it called on the province's people to join in the Opposition's struggle in ousting the "incompetent, selected" prime minister and "snatch back the rights stolen from Sindh".

Host and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari censured Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying that "the selected does not want Sindh or its people but covets the islands, the coal and the gas there".

Bilawal vowed, on behalf of the people of Sindh, that they will "go to Islamabad and snatch back their rights".

He said: "The selected prime minister says that Sindh is 'not our province'."

"If Sindh is not the prime minister's province then whose is it?" Bilawal asked.

He questioned how a prime minister can "use such words" for Sindh.

The PPP chairman said that the people of Sindh will "safeguard their rights" and "safeguard democracy".

Bilawal said that Sindh will get a reduced share of the National Finance Commission Award this year by Rs200bn.

"This incompetent government has brought a tsunami of inflation," he said, adding that even though PM Imran Khan had promised a "new Pakistan", what he has delivered is an "inflation-hit Pakistan".

"This anti-poor government has made life difficult for the people," said the PPP chairman.

In further criticism of the government, he said that the prime minister had once said that he would "commit suicide before going to the IMF (International Monetary Fund)" to ask for a loan.

He said, what occurred, instead, was that the "biggest loan" ever to have been sought was taken in these last three years.

Bilawal said that the prime minister is "giving the elite relief and the poor grief".

He asked the people of Hyderabad if they saw even one job being granted to them from the 10 million jobs the premier had promised soon after coming into power.

The PPP chairman also reminded them of the PTI's "unfulfilled" promise of five million homes for the under priviledged.

"Imran Khan's government, in the name of anti-encroachment drives, is robbing people of a roof over their heads in Larkana, Hyderabad and other areas (of the province)," he said.

He said Pakistan has fallen behind in the region and even countries the like of Afghanistan and Bangladesh surpass it. "If we are ahead in any area, it is inflation," Bilawal said.

He said the people have been "suffering the burden of an incompetent and corrupt government".

"For how long must we endure this puppet? For how long must we endure such experiments?" the PPP chairman asked.

He said the people are the source of a country's power, which is why the PDM has been formed. "We will chase these incompetent and unqualified rulers away. There will be a march in March and you must join us," Bilawal said, adding: "I will take a caravan with me from Karachi."

PDM will demand fresh elections in long march: Fazlur Rehman

The PPP chairman said that the party's stance is that every institution must operate within its set mandate and "politics must be left to the politicians" and trust put in the people.

"The people's decision must be accepted," he said.

'Imran Khan in our clutches'

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman addresses supporters during a public gathering meeting held at Hatri Bypass in Hyderabad on Tuesday, February 09, 2021. — PPI/Sajjad Zaidi

PDM chief Fazlur Rehman, who spoke next at the event, said that governments do not come to power through "rigging", they come with the power of people's votes.

He said the Opposition's movement, at whose core has been the claim that the 2018 elections were "rigged", "will reach its destination".

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"We have all joined hands to restore democracy," said the leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl).

"We are not among those to tire out. Movements only go forward with determination," he said.

He vowed that the Opposition "will not rest until these incompetent rulers are removed".

Fazlur Rehman said that these rulers "came through the back door like thieves".

He went on to say that plans are being forged for "rigging" once more in the upcoming Senate elections.

"They sometimes think of amending the Constitution and other times the law," he said, in criticism of the recently promulgated Ordinance to pave the way for open balloting in Senate polls.

"We are not in favour of putting our names down on the ballot," Fazlur Rehman said.

Speaking of the Bundal and Buddo islands, he said that the land belongs to the people of the province.

"We will not allow, at any cost, the taking over of the islands by the federation," he declared.

He said that the Opposition will "get rid of COVID-18", in another jab at the government.

Referring to the anti-corruption drive being carried out by National Accountability Bureau, he said that the institution is being "used against people".

Addressing the premier, he said: "Imran Khan, know this: you cannot hold us accountable. Imran Khan, also know this: you are in our clutches now. You must first wring free."

He then went on to refer to the foreign funding case against the PTI which is being probed by a scrutiny committee of the Election Commission of Pakistan. He said it was not filed by the Opposition, but a founding member of the PTI.

"It has been acknowledged that a lot of money from abroad went to Imran Khan's employees," he claimed.

Fazlur Rehman said that the movement will not be "propelled forward" and for which a long march will set out on March 26 from all over Pakistan for Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

'No one can usurp Sindh's rights, but you must fight'

Earlier, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbas addressed the gathering, promising the people of Sindh their rights "will not be usurped by anyone" but that they must come out and show the Opposition support in their long march.

Abbasi said: "You will have to come out on March 26. There will be a long march from here towards Islamabad."

"My brothers and sisters, the struggle is but for a few days. You must take part. With this hard work and determination, you will InshaAllah secure a better Pakistan and your children will have a better future."

Abbasi said that PDM's struggle aims at bringing a change in the system of governance. "We have to restore the system to a parliamentary, constitutional one."

"The solution to inflation, unemployment, the rights not given to provinces, the rights that the people of Pakistan deserve, the solution to Sindh's problems all lies in this. This is our message to you […] of all the parties you see here today," he said.

"It is our promise, no one can take your rights from you," the PML-N leader added.

He said PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz sends her regrets for not being able to make it due to her daughter Mehrunnisa Safdar's accident a day earlier.


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