Opposition parties take to streets across Pakistan against ‘back-breaking’ inflation

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The opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and the PPP on Friday staged separate anti-government demonstrations in different cities across the country to protest against inflation.

On Wednesday, the PDM had kicked off its 15-day nationwide protest from Rawalpindi against the continuous rise in the prices of petroleum products and edibles. In the first step, the PDM will stage protests in big cities of the country and afterwards, it will take a decision about holding public meetings or a long march.

Addressing a protest gathering at Karachi’s Empress Market, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) general secretary Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said that protests against inflation and the current government were a “public referendum”.

The JUI-F stood in solidarity with the poor, farmers and lawyers, he said, adding that party chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman — who is also the PDM president — had announced nationwide protests from October 20. “Protests against inflation will continue,” he vowed.

He alleged that the entire country had been left at the mercy of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “Prime Minister Imran Khan used to say he would commit suicide before going to the IMF. He had promised 10 million jobs [but] 16,000 people were let go in Islamabad.”

He added that people were being evicted from their homes in Karachi in the name of encroachment.

While speaking at another protest in Lahore, PML-N’s Saad Rafique said the people of the country were facing “back-breaking” inflation, unemployment, and lawlessness while also witnessing the degradation of state institutions.

“Why are people dying of hunger? Why are they committing suicide? Why are they cursing the government? This did not happen overnight,” he said, adding that this was the result of targeting “elected representatives”.

He said that essentials had not just become expensive, they were “very expensive”. The PML-N leader also predicted another wave of inflation in the country in the aftermath of recent talks with the International Monetary Fund.

He alleged that the premier did not fulfil promises made to the people and lied to them. “You dupe them and make empty promises. You are not capable of anything, and you have destroyed [the country].”

Videos shared by the PML-N’s Twitter account on Friday also showed similar protests in Shangla, Bahawalpur, and Kasur.

PPP protest in Karachi

Meanwhile, the PPP staged a protest in Karachi’s Malir district against what city Administrator Murtaza Wahab called “increasing inflation perpetrated due to the incompetence of the PTI government”.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also participated in the protest. Addressing the rally, Shah said that party workers had come together to “show a mirror” to the PTI government.

He also lambasted the “selected” government for burdening the country’s citizens. He said that on the instructions of party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, protests against inflation were being staged in different cities.

He said the PPP would come into power in the Centre and ease the burden of inflation on the people, adding that the protests were the voice of the poor, the labourers and the nation.

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