ISLAMABAD: 11 Opposition parties, under the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) banner, protested on Tuesday outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office in the capital against delayed proceedings in the foreign funding case against PTI.
Addressing the protest rally, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz alleged that Prime Minister Imran Khan had received funding from Israel and India.
Maryam said that the person who was blaming others for theft “turned out to be a thief himself”.
“He (PM Imran Khan) has attempted to delay the proceedings 30 times. If you weren’t involved in theft, then why did you ask for the proceedings to be delayed?” she asked.
Maryam further alleged that “if a person is taking funds from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) workers, then he will ultimately pray for Modi’s success”.
The ECP failure has become a “punishment” for the people, she said, asking why when the Results Transmission System (RTS) was disrupted, did the ECP not take notice.
Slamming the ECP, she said that if an “incompetent” person was made the ruler by “robbing people’s votes”, then why did the institution not speak up.
“Inflation is rampant today, [petrol prices are at shockingly high rates] and the ECP [cannot be absolved of blame either],” she added.
PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal, PPP’s Raja Pervez Ashraf, PKMAP’s Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Akhtar Mengal addressed the crowd in turn.
Imran Khan ‘illegally imposed on Pakistan’ — Ahsan Iqbal
Ahsan Iqbal, for his part, said PM Imran Khan was “illegally imposed” on the country. He slammed the government over what he termed the economic crisis Pakistan is in and the government’s policies. “It is time the selected government is sent packing.”
Furthermore, he said that PDM would submit its memorandum tomorrow, not today.
‘People want supremacy of Constitution’ — Akhtar Mengal
Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) chief Akhtar Mengal, a former ally of the PTI-led government, said that the nation wants the supremacy of the Constitution.
“The people want the supremacy of the Constitution — which is the veyr foundation of this country,” Mengal said.
The BNP-M chief, talking about the country’s progress, said that Pakistan will not be able to move forward unless equal rights are ensured for the people.
‘PM Imran Khan should be disqualified’ — Aftab Sherpao
Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said that even after six years, PM Imran Khan was unable to provide details of his foreign funding.
“Why did you (PM Imran Khan) take several dates from the ECP?” he asked. “He should be disqualified under Article 62/63.”
Sherpao said that he aspires for a government to be formed — one that is according to the people’s wishes.
Security beefed up
A day earlier, PM Imran Khan directed his government to allow the PDM to protest outside the ECP office. According to Geo News, two platoons of Punjab Rangers have been deployed along with police personnel around the ECP office and main entrance with barbed wire.
The government has also beefed up security around the ECP building to avoid any untoward incident, with Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed reviewing security and personally monitoring the overall situation from the Control Room.
Ahmed said this was the first time that the government was allowing such a demonstration on the Constitution Avenue — the so called “Red Zone” of the federal capital. “I hope the Opposition parties hold a peaceful protest,” he stressed.
The interior minister had warned the Opposition parties to not take the law into their hands during the protest or they would be responsible for the consequences. He said Rawalpindi and Islamabad have been on high alert since December 15 with at least seven terror threats issued by NACTA.
Meeting ahead of rally
A meeting of the senior leadership of the Opposition alliance was held ahead of the protest, at Fazlur Rehman’s residence in Islamabad. It was attended by PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz, PKMap chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai, PPP’s Sherry Rehman and Raja Pervez Ashraf, Akhtar Mengal, Khurram Dastagir, Amir Haider Khan Hoti and others.
Talking to media after the meeting, Fazlur Rehman said the PDM was exercising its legal right to protest, adding that if the government had deployed containers to prevent the rally then the protestors has been prepared to remove them.
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari skipped the protest today as he is participating in party celebrations for winning the Umerkot by-polls.
Earlier today, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal told Geo News that the Opposition alliance would present its demands to the ECP and request it to conclude the foreign funding case at the earliest.
Why is the PDM protesting?
The Opposition alliance is protesting against the delay in the proceedings against the Imran Khan-led PTI in the foreign funding case pending before the ECP for six years.
“Decisions against elected prime ministers are given in a few months’ time but verdict against a selected premier has been pending for over six years,” said Fazlur Rehman on Monday.
“The foreign funding case is the biggest scandal in Pakistan. Imran Khan has amassed millions in the name of party funds. He took the mother of all NROs to create political instability in the country.”
The JUI-F chief claimed PM Imran Khan used charity funds for personal business and to “spread chaos in the country”.