Rawalpindi - Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of some opposition parties, on Wednesday staged a protest demonstration against inflation and the hike in prices of petroleum products and electricity tariff.

The protest demo was held at Liaquat Bagh on Murree Road what the opposition declared a start of a nationwide anti-government campaign against massive price hike that had made the life of masses a hell. 

Carrying placards and banners in hands, the charged protestors chanted slogans against Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, Federal Minister on Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed and members of his kitchen cabinet. 

“The masses want Mian Nawaz Sharif as their PM,” “Masses want to get rid of Imran Baba and his 40 thieves,” “The thieves, please please us,” and “Down the prices of petroleum products and edible items,” were the slogans mentioned on placards and banners held by some protestors.

Besides others, prominent among the protestors were PML-N leaders Marriyum Aurangzeb, Muhammad Hanif Abbasi, Khan Sajjad Khan, Malik Abrar Ahmed, Malik Iftikhar Ahmed, Engineer Qamar Ul Islam, Rawalpindi Mayor Sardar Nasim Ahmed, leaders of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) Fazal and others.

The mess of protestors caused a gigantic traffic jam on city’s main artery Murree Road. The commuters, pedestrians and the business community faced difficulties on the occasion.

A heavy contingent of police was deployed by the City Police Officer (CPO) Muhammad Ahsan Younas and SSP Operations Rai Mazhar to avoid any untoward incident on the occasion.

Addressing the protestors, the PDM leaders denounced the massive price hike and surge in rates of POLs by the government.

They announced they would hold protests and rallies against massive inflation, among other things, for 15 days followed by a long march against the government.

They said people are committing suicide due to poverty and price hike. They said Imran Khan came into power by raising slogan of making new Pakistan. But, everybody is witnessing that new Pakistan has been transformed into a graveyard for poor and needy people, speakers of PDM at the protest said.

“Public could not even buy medicines and pay fee of children in schools,” said Marriyum Aurangzeb, the PML-N spokesperson while addressing the rally.

She said the country was away from track of prosperity and the economy was stable during the tenure of Mian Nawaz Sharif but then Imran Niazi appeared from somewhere and destroyed the economy.

The poor are living under worst situation, she said adding that those people who voted for Imran Khan and party are cursing them.

Marriyum Aurangzeb urged masses to pour on roads and in streets against wrong and erroneous policies of PM Imran Khan. Commenting on issue of appointment of DG ISI, she said the incompetent Khan led government has made national security a farce.

Muhammad Hanif Abbasi also urged the masses to come out on roads to oust the selected PM. “The robbers and looters are governing the country while public are dying of hunger and diseases,” he said.

Khan Sajjad Khan said that prices of petroleum products, oil, sugar, ghee, cooking oil, pulses and other edibles are touching the sky making the lives of public hell.

He added the PDM is out on roads to protest against price hike and the public should join it.

“The poor families are going to bed with empty stomach as they don’t have money to buy food,” said Malik Abrar Ahmed.

Dozens of irate protestors, including an aged activist of JUI-F, started chanting slogans against Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

Sardar Nasim Ahmed said PDM had kicked off its anti-government protest from Rawalpindi as the masses are suffering badly due to rising inflation and hike in prices of essential commodities.

Similarly, a large number of protests were held in several areas of city against the price hike in petroleum products and wheat flour.

Workers of several political parties and members of civil society took part in the protest.

Protestors demanded an immediate reversal of the price hikes and said that the government had been routinely raising prices of petroleum products and edibles since it had come to power.

Hitting out at the Imran Khan government over the recent hike in prices of fuel and other utilities, PML-N UC Dhama Syedan Chairman Chaudhry Imran Ilyas and Vice Chairman Syed Asad Abbas Kazmi said the price hike has become a routine matter during Imran regime. They said soon the people of Dhama Syedan and suburbs would take out a big rally against price hike.

Meanwhile, the traffic wardens, following the instructions of Chief Traffic Officer Rai Mazhar, remained busy in easing traffic flow during the protests demos held by the PDM in the city.