Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) protesters
Activists of the newly-formed Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an opposition alliance of 11 parties, wave party flags during the first public rally in the eastern city of Gujranwala on October 16, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: Parties of the anti-government alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement have finalised their strategy and mobilised their workers for the first and reportedly massive public rally being held in Gujranwala’s Jinnah Stadium.

Though the leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F), the three main constituent parties of the PDM, are expected to address masses in Gujranwala Friday evening, yet the venue is already bustling with people and reflects a scene of festivity and fervour.

Faraz challenges PML-N to fill venue with supporters

Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz a day earlier predicted the PDM show of power was bound to fail as the people were no longer supporting the ‘corrupt’ leadership of the PML-N and the PPP.

He had even challenged the PDM leadership to fill the Jinnah Stadium with people. All they want is NRO (concession in corruption cases against them) but PM Imran Khan has made it clear they will not get it, said Faraz in a message.

PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah while accepting the challenge has asked Faraz to submit resignation as the stadium is already ‘jammed with the people.’

Maryam leads workers from Lahore

Meanwhile, PML-N vice-president and daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, is leading a big public rally of the party workers from Lahore to participate and address the public in PDM’s first public meeting in Gujranwala.

 Maryam Nawaz Pakistan
Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and leader of opposition party (PML-N), addresses supporters while leaving her home to attend a rally in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Image Credit: AP

Maryam re-tweeted journalist Hamid Mir’s tweet which said common people were moving towards Gujranwala rally chanting angry slogans against the PTI government.

28-point agreement with police, city administration

PML-N is hosting the Gujranwala rally as the city is the party’s stronghold. The PML-N leaders a day earlier signed a 28-point agreement with the Gujranwala city administration in order to get permission for the rally.

As per the agreement, all roads leading into the city will remain open and containers will be removed. All people who have been arrested in relation to the rally will also be released. No raids will be conducted either.

However, the PDM is not allowed to block GT Road, which was their plan in case they weren’t granted permission for the rally.

PPP Chairman comes from Lala Musa

Chairman of the PPP Bilawal Bhutto is also leading a public rally of party workers and office-bearers from Lala Musa, District Gujrat. Bilawal is also scheduled to address the ‘disenchanted’ people who have been complaining of price hike, joblessness and shortage of wheat flour in the market.

The organisers have constructed an 80 by 24 foot stage and set up 10,000 chairs, though they claim more people will attend. They have also hired entertainer DJ Butt, a live wire of the PTI rallies in the past.

The PDM, which comprises 11 opposition parties, has vowed to stage rallies across the country to begin a movement against the government. Rallies are also scheduled in Karachi and Quetta on October 18 and 25 respectively.

Govt to facilitate rally participants, says PM’s aide

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Dr Shahbaz Gill on Friday said the PDM was free to hold public rally and peaceful protests as Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed not to stop nor block the leaders of the 11-party anti-government alliance.

This is an alliance of corrupt, NAB-tainted persons who are not ready to trust leaders of other parties, said Gill in a tweet.

“This is the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan. We will take measures for the convenience of our people and protection from coronavirus in all circumstances,” he said.