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PDM postpones anti-govt long march in Pak amid differences over en masse resignation of opposition leaders

ANI | Updated: Mar 17, 2021 04:40 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 17 (ANI): The 11-party opposition alliance - Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) - has postponed its long march planned for later this month, amid differences within the alliance on the issue of resigning from the assemblies, said PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Tuesday.
Addressing a press conference after an hours-long meeting of the PDM in Islamabad, Rehman said nine PDM parties had agreed on the proposal to submit resignations along with the long march, reported Dawn.
However, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), chaired by Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, has reservations over linking the resignations with the march and had sought time to hold consultations within its Central Executive Committee (CEC) before informing the PDM of its decision.
"We have given them the chance and we will await their decision. Until then, the March 26 long march will be considered postponed," Rehman said.
According to Dawn, the PDM chief left the press conference abruptly following the announcement and did not stop when PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz called him out to take questions.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif said that during the meeting, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had asked her father and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) founder Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan so that the opposition "could struggle together"
"In response, I told him with the respect that bringing Mian Sahib back will be tantamount to handing his life over to murderers," Maryam said
Maryam also claimed that the government 'panicked' and allowed him to go abroad when his life came under risk, adding that he had not yet "recovered fully".

Former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that he had thanked the PDM leadership for jointly contesting the recent by-elections and Senate elections, Dawn reported.
Meanwhile, when asked by Tuesday's PDM meeting, Nawaz Sharif told reporters in London that the long march was set to be held on its time, but the PPP had sought time to discuss the issue of the resignation for already known reasons.
Commenting on reports suggesting that Zardari had "entered into a deal with the establishment" to "deliberately slow down" the PDM's movement and his demand for Nawaz's return, the former premier said: "[I] view these things in the same way that you are seeing them."
Addressing the crucial PDM meeting virtually, Zardari reportedly told the PML-N chief: "Mian Sahab, we will hand over the resignations to you when you return home."
Zardari further said if Nawaz wanted the opposition parties to resign en masse, "then not only us, but everyone will have to go to jail", reported Dawn.
In response, Maryam reportedly asked Zardari how her father could return to the country when his "life is in danger".
The PPP believes that the opposition has gained much ground and political space after the recent by-elections in the country, noting that Gilani's victory in the Senate elections caused a major dent in the ruling alliance, according to Dawn.
Therefore, the party leaders believe the opposition should give a tough time to the government while staying in the assemblies instead of leaving the field open for the government.
PDM's long march in Islamabad was earlier scheduled on March 26. (ANI)