Shortly after Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that he would hold by-elections if the opposition resigns en masse from the national and provincial assemblies, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) declared that all members of its constituent parties will resign from their seats and hand in their individual resignations to their party head by the 31st of December, 2020.
President of the PDM Maulana Fazlur Rehman announced the opposition’s plan to quit the assemblies by the end of this month. However, he did not clarify when the resignations of opposition lawmakers would be submitted to the respective speakers of each assembly. Maulana Fazlur Rehman stated, “By December 31, the opposition lawmakers from national and provincial assemblies will hand over their resignations to their respective party heads.”.
The PDM chief stated that the steering committee will meet on Wednesday, the 9th of December, to finalise the opposition’s plans for holding countrywide protests, in addition to finalising the strategy and date for the proposed long march towards Islamabad. He also said that the committee will consider the options of giving a nationwide call for a shutterdown and wheel-jam strike.
PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal said that his party wants to start the long march with their resignations in hand and submit them at the time of the proposed sit-in in Islamabad. “We should go into long march with resignations. Then there will be no by-elections on such a large scale. Then there will be no option but to go for general elections”, he said. He added that it would be impossible to hold by-elections on more than a 100 seats of the National Assembly.
The Prime Minister gave a statement in which he categorically refused to engage with the opposition if they resign from their seats in the country’s assemblies, he said that he would hold by-elections in that case. “I am willing to speak with them on everything except giving them an NRO,” the prime minister said.
The PDM is scheduled to meet in the federal capital today in order to discuss how to proceed further in their protests against the government. The opposition alliance has been demanding the resignation of the prime minister and fresh, free and fair elections, they are expected to double down on these demands in their meeting today.