The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), a multi-party coalition that includes the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has refused to relocate their planned protest sit-in outside the Supreme Court in Islamabad despite the government’s request to move it outside the Red Zone due to security concerns.
Government’s Request to Move the Sit-In
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had directed him to meet with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. After receiving “alarming” information from security institutions, Sanaullah had urged the PDM chief to relocate the planned protest sit-in of his multi-party coalition away from the Supreme Court building. He said that he had requested the JUI-F chief to hold the protest outside the Red Zone. However, reports suggested that the PDM was holding firm on its choice of venue, with Fazl and other leaders rejecting any chance of relocating the sit-in which is supposed to continue for an indefinite period.
PDM Sit-In Venue Change Rumors
In a statement later in the evening, JUI-F Central Secretary General Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri expressed concern over the spread of false rumors that the planned location of the protest had been changed. “Some mischievous elements are spreading misinformation that the protest site has been changed. This is not true,” he said in a statement. He clarified that the sit-in protest will be held in front of the Supreme Court and urged the workers to not pay attention to false rumors.
The protest sit-in by the ruling multi-party coalition comes days after violent protests erupted across major cities in the country following the arrest of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. The former prime minister was arrested on May 9 by the paramilitary Rangers on orders of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) over allegations of Rs50 billion corruption in the Al Qadir Trust case.
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However, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Bandial later declared Imran’s arrest illegal and ordered his immediate release. The ruling PDM coalition has been voicing their protest against what they describe as the double standards of the judiciary, openly accusing the apex court judges of favouritism and asking the top judge to step down from his position.
Interior Minister’s Remarks
During his press conference earlier today, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah also lashed out at PTI Chairman Imran Khan over the violent protests and vandalism by his party workers and supporters following his May 9 arrest and urged the people to use their voting power to negate any attempts to spread unrest in the country.
The interior minister stated that investigations are ongoing to identify the malicious elements involved in the recent tragic events, and those who were involved in attempting to set fire to sensitive installations and public and private property will be brought to justice with the evidence presented in court.
The minister emphasized once again that the political party responsible for inciting unrest should be declared a proscribed organization. However, he stated that this is a legal process and that facts will come to light in due course.
In conclusion, the standoff between the government and the opposition coalition, PDM, continues as the PDM refuses to relocate their planned protest sit-in outside the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. The government has expressed concerns over security issues and has requested the sit-in to be moved outside the Red Zone. However, the PDM has shown no signs of backing down and is expected to continue the sit-in protest for an indefinite period. The situation remains tense, and it remains to be seen how the government will respond to the ongoing protests.