ISLAMABAD / LAHORE / QUETTA / KARACHI: The opposition parties on Thursday staged massive power shows in the major cities of the country to observe their ‘black day’ on the first anniversary of last year’s general elections, which they claim were rigged, and to protest against the increasing inflation and other crises for which they blame the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) policies.
The joint opposition, which includes the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), the Awami National Party (ANP), the Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) and the National Party (NP), organised rallies in their respective strongholds and activists and supporters of all these parties participated in them.
The PPP staged a rally at Jinnah Ground in Karachi where party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other leaders addressed the gathering. Leaders of other political parties including former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq of the PML-N also participated in the rally.
In his hard-hitting speech, Bilawal maintained that country’s democracy and the constitution were under threat and it was imperative that the opposition parties, despite having their own manifestos, set aside their differences to deal with the situation together.
He lashed out at the Prime Minister Imran Khan, accusing him of being a liar and a hypocrite, and criticised the government for its policies. “
“Innocents are being targeted instead of terrorists, the homes of the poor are being razed, people have been deprived of their livelihoods, and not just some laws but the entire constitution faces a threat,” he said.
“It’s not just a province but the entire federation that is in danger.”
The PML-N organised a gathering at Charing Cross on Mall Road, Lahore. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif addressed the rally.
The PML-N president said the “selected” prime minister had severely damaged the country through his “flawed” policies.
“You [Imran Khan] have forced people to kill themselves. You have taken away their homes and jobs and increased the prices of essential commodities to an unbearable level,” he added.
Speaking at a rally in Quetta organised by the PkMAP, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz urged the “honourable [state] institutions” to stop backing an “incapable” prime minister to avoid a conflict with the masses.
“You [state institutions] are representatives of the people and not of the prime minister,” she added.
“The country can never prosper unless the true representatives of the people come into power.”
Maryam asked the people of Balochistan to support other provinces in removing the incumbent government.
During her address to the heavily-charged crowd in Balochistan’s capital city, PkMAP and PML-N supporters chanted slogans against the government.
The PML-N leader was accompanied by PkMAP chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai and former Balochistan chief minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch of the NP.
The opposition’s power show in Peshawar was organised by the JUI-F at the Motorway Chowk on Ring Road. PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal, ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and QWP’s Aftab Khan Sherpao addressed the gathering.
The leader of JUI-F and PkMAP also staged a rally outside the National Press Club in Islamabad.