PDM Changes the Venue for its Kashmir Day Rally

An 11-party opposition alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), has decided to switch venues for one of its rallies. The anti-government public meeting was to be held on the 5
th of February at the Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi on account of Kashmir Day. 

However, the location of the rally has now been changed. The reason being a recent conversation on the telephone between the supremo of PML-N, Nawaz Sharif, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the chief of JUI-F. Soon after the talk, it was decided that the gathering will be held in the Muzaffarabad district of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) now. 

The opposition alliance is led by the Maulana and is dominated mainly by a handful of parties. Three of these parties are Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). 

Earlier in the month, the PDM made an announcement regarding the scheduling of a series of rallies in different cities of the country. It said that this will be the next and second phase of its anti-government campaign. This phase began with a demonstration, which was held outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on the 19th of January. 

The spokesperson for the Rawalpindi chapter of the JUI-F, Ziaullah Khan, reported that the location of the rally was changed as per the request of the PML-N. 

He stated that the decision was changed because the 5th of February marks a day to show solidarity for Kashmiris. Therefore, it is observed in Pakistan every year as a display of support for the people trapped in parts of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). 

Later on, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Senior Vice President of the PML-N, and Raja Farooq Haider, the Prime Minister of AJK, also paid a visit to the JUI-F chief to talk about the event. 

Sources have revealed that administrative committees were formed for the rally at a meeting of the JUI-F Rawalpindi-Islamabad chapter. 

The president of the PDM also made an announcement saying that other rallies will also be held as scheduled. A gathering has been arranged for the 9th of February in Hyderabad, 13th of February in Sialkot, and 16th of February in Pishin, Balochistan. This will be followed by a protest in Sargodha on the 23rd of February. After this, the PDM will proceed to hold a public meeting in Khuzdar on the 27th of February. 

Some analysts are of the opinion that the 11-party opposition alliance is not one big happy family as it appears to be. Their differences have been believed to be widening because a couple of major parties are taking unilateral decisions, instead of following the plan they initially announced. Its primary aim was to run out the PTI government from office but, analysts believe that the PDM has deviated from its original plan. 

When asked about it, Asif Ali Zardari, the PPP Co-chairman rejected these speculations. However, Ahsan Iqbal, the Secretary-General for PML-N openly disagreed with a proposal presented by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the Chairman of PPP, to move towards a motion of no-confidence against the current ‘incumbent’ government.