Leaders of the 11-party opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) have gathered in Larkana on the occasion of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s 13th death anniversary, for another power show as part of its anti-government protests.Earlier this month, PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had directly contacted leaders of parties in the PDM to invite them to attend the rally at Garhi Khuda Bux in Larkana. PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz arrived in the province a day earlier while a delegation from the Jam枰at Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) is also participating in the rally.
Addressing the rally, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) leader Awais Noorani said the PDM’s fight was simple and that it wanted all institutions to operate within their domains. “We don’t want to fight anyone. Stay within your limits and let people make their decisions,” he said without naming anyone, adding that the PDM wanted free and fair elections.
Noorani said an election will be held “soon” and asked PDM workers to prepare for it in order to win back their mandate. In his speech, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai said today’s gathering carried a special meaning because all of Pakistan’s political parties “which the establishment set against each other” had joined hands. “This is God’s blessing that Pakistan’s parties which used to do who knows what against each other, today are united and agreed and gathered under PDM’s [banner],” he said.
Achakzai said the opposition didn’t set up the PDM for our own sake and that it wanted everyone to adhere to the Constitution. “Democracy is the fountainhead of our political power,” he added.
Awami National Party leader Ameer Haider Khan Hoti paid tribute to Benazir’s political struggles, saying she knew of the threats facing her but returned to Pakistan to fight with courage before being martyred.
“Today it was said here that by martyring her, an attempt was made to break the chain of Pakistan; that chain was not destroyed, Bilawal did not allow that chain to break. You can see all of Pakistan is present here today,” he said.
JUI-F’s Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri lashed out at the government, saying ministers were busy in the character assassination of opposition members. “We have never seen cowardly leaders like them. They don’t have a majority in Pakistan [and] they have brought the country to the brink of destruction. Due to their policies investors are running away,” he