Imran Khan is going to deal with more than the inflation or sugar and wheat scandals in his current list of challenges. The well nurtured and fully united Opposition did their first power show in Gujranwala yesterday on 16th October 2020 officially starting their movement against the ruling government. More power shows are expected in the major cities including Quetta and Karachi in the coming days.
Breaking his silence after two years and making the first public appearance since moving to London, Nawaz Sharif announced the Pakistan Democratic Alliance on 20th September 2020. He had used an extremely vengeful and ferocious tone against the military. He made direct attacks at Imran Khan for being SELECTED AND CORRUPT. And declared a proper anti-government movement. Opposition seems united and strong under Nawaz Sharif.
Comprised of 11 parties from the Opposition, PDM is quite adamant and seems unshakeable in their demands against the government. They have asked for the removal of the ruling government because they came in power backed by some powerful authorities and not on the public mandate. Their chants of VOTE KO IZZAT DO are directed against rigging and polarity carried out by Imran Khan during the 2018 general elections.
PDM is being led by Jamiat Ulmaye Islam JUI-F’s Maulana Fazal ur Rehman in Pakistan but in reality, it is being controlled by Nawaz Sharif from London virtually. Pakistan Peoples Party’s Bilawal Bhutto is also one of the leaders of PDM.
Kicking off their anti-government movement formally, PDM held its first power show in Gujranwala yesterday and it drew thousands of staunch supporters from across the country. PDM had signed a 28-points agreement with the local administration for following the proper Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). As per the agreement, chairs would be kept at a distance from each other and no attendee would be allowed on the Jinnah Ground without mask. But it didn’t seem like the actual situation when the power show reached its peak yesterday. A footfall of around 50,000-60,000 people gathered in Gujranwala and people completely ignored the SOPs.
Maryam Nawaz, Bilawal Bhutto and Maulana Fazal ur Rehman were all present in Gujranwala last night and made their separate speeches. But the eye catcher was without a shadow of doubt the speech of Mian Muhammed Nawaz Sharif which has drawn international media’s attention to it. He addressed people via video link from London and once again came down upon Imran Khan and the army.
He directly targeted Imran Khan and the damaged economic situation he has brought to the country. He told people that if he was not removed from the office, today’s Pakistan would have been in a much better condition. He called out to the people of Gujranwala saying, “The smiling faces I left behind look gloomy today. Gujranwala has always loved Nawaz Sharif. I am talking to you after three years. Many things have changed in the last three years. If I was not removed from the premiership the country and the economy would have been in a much better condition today.”
Nawaz Sharif attacked the ruling government on various front from unemployment to rising prices of gold. He said, “I heard that the cost of per tola gold has crossed 110k. Will someone tell me how will a poor person’s daughter get married? PTI government used to say that they will give 10 million jobs, but about 15 million people have gone unemployed in this government. They said they will give five million houses. Tell me, has anyone gotten a single home?”
Finally, the most controversial and anger-filled topic that was addressed by Sharif was the army and Intelligence Institutions. He accused the army for the East-West Pakistan separation and breaking the country into two parts. He lashed out at the army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence Chief Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed of rigging the elections and making fabricated cases of corruption against opposition leaders saying that, “They have to be held accountable for their crimes.”
Nawaz Sharif who himself is under various corruption charges currently, targeted the military and intelligence agencies for his dismissal in 2017 and installing their own PUPPET GOVERNMENT. He said that, “Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa ended my government. He rigged 2018 elections and imposed incapable Imran Khan on the nation. Gen. Bajwa is a direct culprit and he will have to give an answer to this.”
His daughter Maryam Nawaz was also present at the rally and addressed the public. But her mic was muted during live telecast when she started lashing out at the military as well. A lot of Media outlets did not give live coverage or recorded streaming of Nawaz Sharif’s speech because of the anti-military sentiments expressed in it.
PDM’s major allegations against the ruling government are damaging the economy, inability to control the rising inflation, corruption and being selected. And Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf actually has been unable to live up to its expectations in the past two years. Imran Khan has failed to have an honest Federal Cabinet and corruption free ministers. Inflation is out of control now for the ruling government and if it is controlled in the coming weeks or months, the Opposition will get stronger and stronger in their demands.
But government’s weaknesses kept aside, PDM put the nation at a huge risk last night by gathering thousands of people in a ground where it was absolutely packed and people barely followed the SOPs. In the times of surge in the Corona cases, PDM has and is going to put the nation at a huge risk by conducting these power shows. Not only this, Sharif’s straight averments against the military last night has presented PDM as well as Pakistan’s reputation as a joke to the international community.
The nation’s health as well as livelihoods are at stake amid the sparking pandemic and rising inflation. On one hand, there is the Opposition who is against the national security institutions and on the other there is government which is making constant promises to bring down inflation. Who is going to live up to the expectations of Pakistan and who is going to prove better for the nation, its better left up to the coming time.
The author is doing M. Phil in Public Policy and Governance. He is working as a freelancer. Previously worked with HubPages and Washington Post.