Pak opposition leaders reach Gujranwala for their first anti-govt protests

International Desk Published: 18 October 2020, 05:17 PM | Updated: 18 October 2020, 05:18 PM
Pak opposition leaders reach Gujranwala for their first anti-govt protests

Pakistan opposition leaders along with an “ocean” of people made their way to Gujranwala for the first show of strength of their anti-government campaign.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, who left for the rally from her residence at Jati Umra, Lahore earlier in the day, said that it took her motorcade six hours to exit Lahore. “There is an ocean of people front, back, right and left. This is unprecedented,” she earlier wrote, sharing pictures and videos of the supporters accompanying her convoy.

Meanwhile, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Fazlur Rehman is still hours away from the venue, while according to TV reports, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s convoy has entered the limits of Gujranwala city, Dawn reported.

Bilawal energised his supporters through a brief talk during the journey at Wazirabad, saying the opposition parties will jointly work to rid the people of “this oppressive ruler”.

Hundreds of supporters and workers had started gathering at the Jinnah Stadium, Gujranwala, in the afternoon after arriving from different cities in the form of rallies.

They raised slogans and waved flags of the various opposition parties that are part of the PDM alliance, as opposition anthems were played on loudspeakers.

The recently-formed Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is holding its first anti-government protest in Gujranwala.

The opposition comprising 11 parties including PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz), PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party), and JUI-F (Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl) will be holding the Gujranwala Rally.

The anti-government rally has been organised to protest against army atrocities and demand for PM Imran Khan’s resignation in the backdrop of corruption, economic slowdown, and poor governance.

A number of politicians, including PML-N’s Marriyum Aurangzeb, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Asif, Khurram Dastagir and veteran politician Javed Hashmi, are already present at the venue.

The stadium has a capacity of 35,000. Nearly 10,000 seats have been arranged in the ground, while some 25,000 people can be accommodated in the various enclosures at the stadium.

Usman Bhatti, Geo News reporter who is riding along with Maryam Nawaz’s convoy, says that the district administration had closed the adjoining roads on the PML-N vice-president’s declared route, making it harder for workers to join her.

Geo News journalist Hamid Mir has estimated a gathering of 50,000-60,000 people.

Reporting from the venue to Shahzad Iqbal in the studio, he said that no one is wearing masks.

The host reasons: “If party leaders can call so many people out on the streets, they can ask them to wear masks.”-ANI