Islamabad [Pakistan]: As Pakistani authorities struggle to tackle the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Imran Khan hit out at the opposition parties, calling it the 'main problem' in combating the spread of the virus. Khan's response comes after Pakistan's opposition vowed to hold rallies in Multan on Monday and Lahore on December 13 despite the authorities' refusal to give permission for rallies.
"Now, with the new spike, when we again need smart lockdown, they want Jalsas (public gatherings) not caring for the lives and safety of people," the Prime Minister said in a tweet.
Pakistan's coronavirus death toll has crossed the grim milestone of 8,000. The total number of positive cases has surged to 398,024. Prime Minister Khan on Saturday said he would not give permission to the political parties to hold anti-government rallies in Multan and other cities due to the spread of COVID-19.
"The coronavirus is spreading dangerously, therefore the opposition should postpone PDM public meetings," Dawn quoted Khan as saying while talking to spokespersons at the Prime Minister House.
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an 11-party alliance to protest against the Imran Khan-government, has held four public meetings against the government in Gujranwala, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar while two are scheduled for November 30 and December 13 in Multan and Lahore, respectively.
The meetings had witnessed a huge turnout. Earlier on Sunday, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Secretary Information Marriyum Aurangzeb had slammed Khan, saying that "fascist rulers" have arrested PML-N workers carrying peaceful protest.
While slamming the "incompetent government", Marriyum added that the jalsa, which is scheduled to take place on Monday in Multan, will be held at any cost. PML-N had claimed that several party members have been arrested from Ghanta Ghar Chowk in Multan for carrying out a "peaceful rally." According to Geo News, dozens of party workers, accompanied by PML-N MNA Rana Sanaullah, reached the Ghanta Ghar intersection in Multan to carry out a rally but police intervened to stop them, resulting in an altercation.
As a result, about seven party members were arrested by the police and were shifted to an undisclosed location. Talking to journalists, Rana Sunaullah stressed that the PDM will "host a jalsa in Multan tomorrow (November 30) at all costs and will not cancel it under any circumstances."