The 11-party Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) held a rally in Multan on Monday despite arrests of hundreds of its activists.

The rally, held at a makeshift venue after the government blocked most parts of Multan, also saw the political debut of Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari, the youngest child of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, representing her brother Bilawal who has been self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19. Aseefa said she would stand by her brother “every step of the way”.

She called the Imran Khan government a “selected” government. “Despite the cruelty and oppression by the selected [government], so many of you have gathered here. This selected [government] will have to go!”

PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz welcomed Aseefa into politics and said the entry of women was a good sign for Pakistan.

Earlier, speaking to a local TV channel, Maryam attacked Prime Minister Imran Khan, calling him a “puppet prime minister” who should have “some courage” to question the country’s top spy agency – Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – as to why it is tapping his telephone calls.

She was responding to Khan’s admission that he was aware that the agencies tap his phone calls.

“The ISI taps phone of the prime minister and others. This is not new news for me. If any guts left in this puppet (Imran Khan) he should take on the ISI on this matter,” she said.

In a recent interview to a local TV channel, Khan had said: “The ISI and the IB [Intelligence Bureau] know whatever I do and with whom I talk to on telephone.”

When asked if he had no issue with the agencies tapping his phone, Khan said: “It happens all over the world. Even the CIA does the same in the US.”

The prime minister was of the view that the agencies do such things as they are responsible for providing security to the heads of state.

“The ISI knows as to whom I will be calling and why I am calling. The ISI also knows as to who has taken money out of the country,” he said.

Khan said the Pakistan Army knows everything about him.