By Hamza Ameer
Quetta, Oct 26 (IANS): The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the anti-government alliance of at least 11 political parties from the opposition benches, staged its third big public gathering in Balochistan's provincial capital Quetta on Sunday. While the gathering was aimed at pressurizing the Imran Khan-led government, one particular statement has provoked an angry outburst from the government, who is questioning the agenda behind the PDM campaign.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani has expressed serious concern over the demand made by Owais Noorani, leader of Jamiat-Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP), during his speech at the PDM Quetta gathering where he talked about making Balochistan a separate state.
In a tweet, Jam Kamal asked the PDM leadership about the narrative they were promoting at their rally.
"It was a public meeting of the PDM or BJP," he asked.
The tweet reads, "PDM is speaking in Quetta to make Balochistan a separate state...Awais Noorani... whose narrative PDM is doing here...is it BJP jhalsa or PDM?"
Kamal slammed the PDM leaders for using the narrative of the enemy (India), who he said has been working towards destabilizing Balochistan province.
"The thinking of PDM leadership shows that they consider Balochistan a small province. Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan," said Kamal.
Kamal's statement comes in reaction to the Sunday public meeting of the PDM in Quetta, where its leaders highlighted the longstanding issues of the province including enforced disappearances.
Maryam Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) reiterated her party slogan of "vote ko izzat do" which means respect the vote, insisting that the reason why the people of Balochistan have been deprived of their basic rights is because the people's vote was not respected.
"The rulers in the province were not accountable to its people but those who were pulling their strings," she said.
Maryam Nawaz vowed to end enforced disappearances in the province.
"Husbands and brothers will no longer go missing," she said.
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke to the audience through video link.
"Nobody will be able to trample over the sanctity of vote," he said.
Nawaz Sharif again accused the country's military establishment of violating the constitution and "rigging the 2018 elections and interfering in politics".
"Time has come to change the country's destiny. I am standing up to the unconstitutional powers that were responsible for the country's state of affairs. God helps those who help themselves," he said.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) who also addressed the rally through video link from Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan for trying to turn the "country's intelligence agencies and Pakistan Rangers into his Tiger Force".
"Those who are dreaming of breaking the opposition alliance will never succeed... we are not among those who back down from their stance," Bilawal said.
However, the statement of Owair Noorani of the JUP has sparked anger among the government ranks, who are now accusing the PDM alliance of working on India's and Narendra Modi's anti-Pakistan agenda.