Fazl, Maryam take the stage at PDM’s power show in Quetta

The 11-party anti-government Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance is holding its third power show — this time in Quetta — despite Balochistan government’s appeal to postpone the public meeting in view of security threats.

PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz are in attendance at the rally in Ayub Stadium while PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif are expected to address the public meeting via video link.

Qaumi Watan Party Chairperson Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao blasted the PTI-led government over “their inefficiency […] the damage they have caused the country”.

“They [government] are afraid of opposition’s rallies. After Gujranwala jalsa, they registered cases of treason against PML-N leaders. They got so scared in Karachi that the Centre attacked a province and kidnapped its IGP for signatures,” he alleged.

“This inefficient government has isolated itself […] Every policy of this government has failed and now they have made life difficult because of inflation.”

JUI-F Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri claimed that participants en route to the rally were being stopped on the way and asked that the workers start a dharna at the very place they have been held back.

Awami National Party’s central senior vice president Amir Haider Khan Hoti condemned the way PML-N leader Mohammad Safdar was treated in Karachi and MNA Mohsin Dawar upon his arrival in Quetta.

He said Balochistan’s message to Imran Khan was that “you are inefficient, you are unsuccessful”.

“The message to the forces standing behind you is that under no circumstances can anyone be above the Constitution and the law.”

Security alert

Ahead of the rally, Balochistan government’s spokesperson Liaquat Ali Shahwani said that cell phone services have been suspended due to “security concerns” . He urged PDM leaders to direct their party workers to cooperate and not politicise the move.

Earlier on Friday, Shahwani said that the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had issued a security alert for the public rallies of opposition parties in Quetta and Peshawar, saying there was “credible information” about possibility of subversive activities. A day later, the provincial government banned pillion riding in Quetta under Section 144 of the criminal procedure code.

Rehman and Maryam, however, declared that the event would not be postponed as it was Baloch­istan government’s responsibility to provide complete security to the public meeting.

The administration should go home if it can not do its job, the JUI-F and PML-N leaders ann­ounced in separate remarks after their arrival on Saturday in Khuzdar and Quetta, respectively.

“If something happens, the provincial government will be responsible for it,” said Maryam.

The alliance leader said the PDM had challenged Prime Minister Imran Khan’s dictatorial attitude. He was afraid of Gujranwala and Karachi big public meetings, she said, adding that he might resign from the premiership by January 15, 2021.

Mohsin Dawar barred

Meanwhile on Saturday, lawmaker Mohsin Dawar was stopped at the Quetta airport and taken into custody by security officials who informed him about a ban on his entry in the Balochistan capital.

Sources said MNA Dawar was asked to shift to a rest house till the next flight, he refused to leave the airport.

In the meantime, a number of PTM supporters gathered at the airport, blocked traffic on the main road and chanted slogans against the government. Home Minister Ziaullah Langove confirmed that there was a ban on MNA Dawar’s entry. The ban is set to expire on October 29.

“Once again our rights are being violated by state above state,” tweeted Dawar. “I am told its because of security risks. Why are these risks limited to me only? We refuse to be silenced like this. We will not be intimidated.”

More to follow

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