PDM's rally in Gujranwala: opposition says govt wants confrontation

PML-N says will hold rally on GT Road in Gujranwala
The opposition parties will hold their first anti-government rally on GT Road on October 16 in Gujranwala, said PML-N leader Khurram Dastgir Wednesday. “We are taking to the streets,” Dastgir told SAMAA TV’s Nadeem Malik. “We have not been given permission to hold the jalsa at the stadium.” The PML-N leader said that the jalsa will begin after Friday prayers and the opposition leaders, including Maryam Nawaz, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, will address the rally after maghrib prayers. “Maryam Nawaz will come to Gujranwala from Lahore with a rally,” said Dastgir. The opposition parties formed the Pakistan Democratic Movement last month and announced that it will be holding rallies against the government before a “decisive march” in January. Prime Minister Imran Khan, however, has termed the protest by the opposition parties an attempt to force the government to withdraw corruption cases against them. The PML-N, the host of the Gujranwala rally, has accused the government of arresting the workers of the opposition parties and going towards confrontational path. “So far, they haven’t given us permission to hold the rally and placed containers in the cities,” said Dastgir. “There will be no confrontation, if they unimpededly allow our rallies to reach Gujranwala.” Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed, a minister in the PTI’s Punjab government, told SAMAA TV that the opposition parties will soon be given permission to hold their rally at the Jinnah stadium. The minister, however, said that the opposition wants to come to the GT Road to block traffic. He added that the administration had given them other options and venues for the rally but they declined the options. According to Rasheed, the Ansari brothers, one of whom was elected an MPA on the PML-N’s ticket, want to hold a rally in Gujranwala on October 16. He said he had asked the Ansari brothers to delay their rally for few days. “I went to Gujranwala yesterday. I also went to the residence of the Ansari brothers that they should delay their rally for a few days to avoid confrontation,” Rasheed told Malik. Younus Ansari, the brother of PML-N MPA Ashraf Ansari, told SAMAA TV that the administration will respond to their request for permission to hold rally Thursday morning. He said that his brother is ready to resign as a member of Punjab Assembly, if the PML-N returns their “investment”. “We invested in them for 30 years,” claimed Ansari. “We bought the PML-N ticket.” The PPP, another opposition party, has accused the government of arresting its workers to sabotage the rally in Gujranwala. “I have no doubt the government will go towards confrontation,” said senior PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira. He claimed that police entered the residence of one of his office-bearers and arrested his servants. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is currently in London, has also asked police to not comply with the government’s orders to arrest the workers of the opposition parties. “Police must NOT comply with Imran Niazi’s unlawful orders to arrest PMLN/PDM’s workers, raid their homes or hinder their travel to Gujranwala,” said Sharif in a tweet.



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