QUETTA: The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) kicked off its third power show in Quetta on Sunday amid heightened security measures owing to a threat alert issued by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA).

Today’s outlook: PDM set for third rally in Quetta

Fazl, Maryam take the stage at PDM's power show in Quetta - DAWN.COM

President of the PDM and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz Vice President Maryam Nawaz and Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party leader Mahmood Khan Achakzai are in attendance at the venue, among other senior political leaders. Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto.

The rally is being held at the Ayub Stadium and PML-N founder Nawaz Sharif is going to address the crowd via video link from London.

The rally was scheduled to begin at 1pm. Two hundred chairs have been set up in the stadium for participants.

The PDM comprises 11 opposition parties and has vowed to run an anti-government campaign across the country. It has already held two rallies in Gujranwala and Karachi and will hold another in Peshawar.

Considering NACTA’s security alert, mobile phone services have been suspended, whereas pillion ridding has also been banned in the city. Section-144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was also imposed in the provincial capital.

Opposition leaders converge on Quetta for PDM power show today - DAWN.COM

Earlier in the day, spokesperson for the Balochistan government, Liaquat Shahwani, had requested for the suspension of mobile phone services to not be politicised, saying the decision was taken in view of the security alert.

More than 4,000 security personnel, including officials from the provincial police force, Frontier Corps and Balochistan Constabulary have also been deployed. A control room has also been set up at the deputy commissioner’s office to monitor the security arrangements in the wake of a possible terror attack.

NACTA had warned that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), in connivance with HIAs, had planned to carry out large-scale terrorist activities in Quetta, targeting political and religious leadership.

The Balochistan government had appealed to the PDM leadership on October 23 to suspend their rally in the wake of the security threat. However, the opposition leaders paid no heed to the warning and started gathering in Quetta on October 24.

However, the opposition leaders reached the city a day ago. Addressing JUI-F workers at a local madrassa, Fazl said, “It is the responsibility of the government to provide security for the Quetta gathering. If they cannot provide security, they should go home.”

In a separate press conference, Maryam Nawaz had also held the provincial government responsible for providing security to the opposition’s jalsa, stating that ‘if something were to happen, they will be held accountable’.

PML-N Balochistan President Gen (retd) Qadir Baloch said that party supreme leader Nawaz Sharif will address the public gathering through video link. Party’s social media team has reached Quetta to broadcast the speech.

Other leaders who arrived in Quetta on Saturday included JUI-F’s Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Capt (retd) Safdar, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Nihal Hashmi, PPP Senior Vice Chairman and former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Awami National Party Central Vice President Amir Haider Khan Hoti and General Secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain.

Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Balochistan National Party chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal and National Party Central President Dr Abdul Malik Baloch also reached Quetta.

Further, the Balochistan government detained Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement leader MNA Mohsin Dawar when he arrived at the Quetta airport due to a three-month ban on him for delivering anti-government speeches, which will end on October 29. Home Minister Ziaullah Langove confirmed the development.

The rally is being held at the Ayub Stadium and PML-N founder Nawaz Sharif is going to address the crowd via video link from London.

The rally was scheduled to begin at 1pm. Two hundred chairs have been set up in the stadium for participants.

The PDM comprises 11 opposition parties and has vowed to run an anti-government campaign across the country. It has already held two rallies in Gujranwala and Karachi and will hold another in Peshawar.

You can’t scare us, warns ANP’s Ameer Haider Hoti

“I was given a letter saying there was a threat alert. To be careful. To hell with your threat alerts. You want to scare us?” said Ameer Haider Hoti of the ANP.

“You want to scare the people who follow Bacha Khan? Wali Khan? Benazir Bhutto?”

Today in front of me, all the Balochistan and Pakhtun brothers are sitting, he said, asking them to fight Balochistan’s case together.

We do not want to just fight KP’s case, he said. “We hear the voices rising up from Punjab, from across Pakistan. we must fight their case.”

And when I stand in Balochistan’s land, I see my sisters here, he said. “I will speak about the missing persons as well.”

Hoti said today, Balochistan’s sister asks where her brother is. A Balochistan mother asks where her son is.

If there is any accusation, then present them in court, he demanded. If there is any weakness in the law then make laws, he said. “But it is not possible and should not be that these sisters yearn for their brothers and mothers for their sons.”

Today we have a threat alert, he said, adding that there are check posts. “So then stop the people who make the threat. Why is a person who needs to pass for business, why are they insulted?”

We want an answer for Gwadar, Hoti demanded. “If Pakistan progresses because of Gwadar, we are happy. But the first right to Gwadar is no one else’s but the Balochs’.”

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