PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance comprising 11 of the country's opposition parties, will stage it fourth power show on Sunday in Peshawar despite being denied permission by the city administration to hold the the public rally due to a surge in new COVID-19 cases.
The rally will be addressed by Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz, Jamiat Ulema Islam–Fazl (JUI-F) and PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Cchairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, as well as other opposition leaders, reports The Express Tribune.
Maryam Nawaz has confirmed that her father and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will not address the Peshawar rally, apparently due to severe kidney pain.
Spokesperson for the PML-N's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter, Ikhtiar Wali, while denouncing the roadblocks allegedly put in place on the way to the venue, said that Prime Minister Imran Khan's government has become scared of the PDM's rallies.
He added that Sunday's rally will be a referendum against the incumbent government, warning it to not "instigate violence" or it will be the one responsible.
On Friday, Peshawar's Deputy Commissioner had denied permission, saying the COVID-19 positivity rate in the provincial capital is currently "alarmingly high" and has exceeded 13 per cent, The Express Tribune reported.
Any large public gathering is likely to increase the spread of deadly virus, the Commissioner added.
Friday's development came after Prime Minister Imran Khan in a televised address to the nation announced on Monday that he was imposing additional restrictions on public gatherings in the wake of a COVID-19 resurgence, which included the suspension of political rallies and gatherings.
Shortly after Khan's announcement, the PDM had declared that it would proceed with its rallies despite the ban imposed by the government.
Sunday's rally would be the alliance's fourth power show after the first, second and the third were held on October 16 in Gujranwala, October 19 in Karachi and October 25 in Quetta.
After Peshawar, the PDM is scheduled to stage two more rallies — Multan on November 30 and Lahore on December 13. (IANS)