Pakistan: Political showdown feared as PDM calls for march on capital

Islamabad, March 15 : The opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has given a call to the public and workers of the component parties to begin a long march towards Islamabad on March 23 to stage a sit-in which could continue till the completion of the voting process on the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly, Dawn reported on Tuesday. This came hours after the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) announced its own rally of a gathering of “one million people” at D-Chowk on March 27 on the eve of voting on the crucial no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan. The decision to hold the long march towards the capital on the Pakistan Day was announced by PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman after attending a meeting of the joint opposition at the residence of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif. The meeting was attended by the heads of the opposition parties and prominent leaders, including PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Sardar Akhtar Mengal of the Balochistan National Party (BNP), Amir Haider Hoti of the Awami National Party and independent MNA Mohsin Dawar. The Maulana informed the media persons that the march would begin simultaneously from all parts of the country after Zuhr prayers on March 23 and the following day the participants would reach in front of the Parliament House. He said the duration of their stay at the venue would be announced later, but asked the people and workers of all the opposition parties to come mentally prepared to stay at D-Chowk till completion of the voting process. This has led to speculations of a political showdown between the government and the opposition which can lead to political turmoil in the already politically charged atmosphere across the country due to several other factors like skyrocketing inflation. ACL1342

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