Pakistan: Massive anti-govt rally held despite security threats

New Delhi (NVI): Despite security threats, major Opposition parties in Pakistan today held a joint rally to oust Imran Khan, in occupied Balochistan province’s capital Quetta that was rocked by a deadly blast this afternoon.

Today’s crucial rally took place even as four people were killed in the explosion that took place in a market in Hazarganji area of Quetta. The place of blast is about 35 to 40 minutes away from the rally site.

Pertinent to mention here that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), a coalition of 11 Opposition parties formed on September 20, had earlier held two massive back-to-back gatherings in Gujranwala and Karachi this month.

According to report in local media, an improvised explosive device (IED) was planted in a motorcycle.

PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman was also in attendance at the rally in Ayub Stadium, along with other political leaders who are part of the alliance.

However, Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader Mohsin Dawar, who detained yesterday, received full support from other Opposition leaders who protested against his detention at the rally.

“I want to congratulate organizers of #PDMJalsaQuetta for such a spectacular turnout. I also want to thank all those who protested against my detention, especially PTM Quetta. Quetta is my home & keeping me away from my home makes my resolve even stronger. I will not give up,” Mohsin Dawar said in a tweet.

PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz in her speech said that the time has come to change the fate of Pakistan — and Balochistan.

“No longer will husbands and brothers go missing, people of Balochistan,” she was quoted as saying by The Dawn.

PML-N supremo and three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who addressed the rally via video link from London, blamed Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed for Pakistan’s current situation.

“Gen Bajwa, you will have to answer for record rigging in the 2018 elections, for horse-trading in the Parliament, for making Imran Niazi prime minister against people’s wishes and [by] tearing apart the Constitution and laws, for pushing people towards poverty and hunger,” Sharif said.

Earlier, the Opposition leaders of PDM were warned by Balochistan authorities about threats in the city by terrorists prior to the rally.

Mobile and internet services in Quetta city were shut down due to the rally, creating problems for residents wanting to contact each other, Samaa TV reported.

-ARK