PDM sit-in: PML-N, PPP opt for different plans

LAHORE, May 15: PML-N and PPP activists in forms of convoys from several parts of Punjab would reach Islamabad in the early hours of Monday (today) to participate in the JUI-F-led Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) sit-in outside the Supreme Court.

The PML-N, according to its Lahore chapter, has instructed MNAs and former MPAs to bring 300 activists along with them to Islamabad. Smaller rallies from other districts will join the central one from Lahore at different intersections on the motorway to Islamabad.

Several leaders of the party will leave for Islamabad in the wee hours of Monday, and reach Islamabad at around 10am. After that, PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz, who is already in Islamabad, will lead the main rally towards the sit-in.

Senators and former members of the upper house of parliament belonging to the PML-N have been instructed to attend the event as well.

The PPP seems to have gone for a different route as their leaders have instructed the local hierarchy to reach outside the SC directly. PPP Central Punjab leader Faisal Mir said their acting president had instructed them to ensure their presence in the sit-in.

Their leaders along with their activists will reach the location on their own. Mir said given the shortage of time, it was not possible for them to go in the form of rallies. The PPP Southern Punjab leader Abdul Qadir Shaheen said they would attend the sit-in.

However, given that the PPP was only participating in it for a “token” presence, they had not given any targets to their activists, he added.

Former PML-N provincial minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman said they would leave for Islamabad on Monday morning. He added that the PML-N activists would converge at the start of the Lahore Motorway and later near Islamabad, where all of them would form a one major rally.

From there onwards, they would be led by Maryam Nawaz. The PML-N leadership of other districts of Punjab would also reach Islamabad by around 10am. “We are not reaching there prepared for a sit-in,” he explained. “However if a sit-in is announced, we will make some last-minute arrangements to honour the decision,” he added.

PML-N Senator Shaheen Khalid Butt said that that his party was taking all necessary steps for the security and sanctity of the state. Butt continued that he too would participate in the sit-in on the instructions of the party leadership.
When asked if Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would participate in the sit-in, the senator denied any knowledge of it. The sit-in is aimed at allowing political parties in the government to exhibit their strength and street power to the public.

According to a PML-N MNA, it was important for the party to show its strength even to its own people. He added that the prevailing perception was that the PML-N had lost its support and that was certainly not true.

The PML-N MNA continued that the sizable presence of party activists in the federal capital on Monday would undo that impression.

Meanwhile, On the call of the PDM chief, a large number of JUI-F activists from Sindh and Balochistan left for Islamabad on Sunday to participate in the protests at the Supreme Court, JUI-F Sindh chief Rashid Mahmood Soomro said.

Soomro, who was leading the JUI-F caravan from Sindh, said that they would reach the federal capital by road on Monday (today). “The convoys from 30 districts of Sindh will head to Islamabad via Sukkur Motorway,” he said.

Soomro urged Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to lift the Section 144 (CrPC) restriction in Islamabad. “We are peaceful people,” he added. He also said that they would demand of the Supreme Court to form a larger bench for the political cases.

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