ISLAMABAD: The Opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Friday announced a boycott of the joint parliamentary session due next week.
The announcement followed a meeting of the PDM’s steering committee, attended by PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Marriyum Aurangzeb, JUI-F’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Owais Noorani, Mahmood Khan Achakzai, and others.
JUI-F’s Hafiz Hamdullah spoke to the media following the meeting to announce the decision. “PDM stands with media organisations and will continue to stand by them,” he added.
The JUI-F leader asserted that the government’s proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) has been rejected by the PDM, adding that it is in actuality a media “control” authority.
He said that what had occurred earlier in the day during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs was “non-parliamentary” and “non democratic”.
“Babar Awan and Azam Swati have insulted the Election Commission and the Parliament,” Hamdullah said, adding that the PDM has decided first off to issue a white paper against the government. “The white paper will expose the government’s dark deeds and failures,” he added.
The meeting decided that on September 26, a “big” PDM convention will be held in Islamabad, he said, adding that lawyers, journalists and labourers will be invited to attend. “PDM will gather everyone’s point of view in the convention,” Hamdullah said.
Speaking of other decisions, Hamdullah said that the government’s “unilateral” electoral reforms were rejected. “These unilateral reforms are another attempt to steal the election,” he said.
The JUI-F leader noted that in the parliament Swati had remarked that the ECP must be “set on fire” and that federal ministers “sought to take the state institutions hostage”. “The government wishes to control institutions through threats,” he added.
Hamdullah said that on October 16, the PDM will hold a rally in Faisalabad and on October 31 in Dera Ismail Khan. He added that on October 14, a “Mufti Mahmud Conference” will be held, in honour of one of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s founding members.
Referring to the PPP’s falling out with the PDM, he said, “We will not speak against our political friends.” “Bilawal may use whatever language he deems appropriate. But the PDM will not respond to his remarks,” he added.