Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly hosts reception for major opposition parties and urges them to unite against ‘anti-people’ policies of government
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on Monday hosted a dinner reception for major opposition parties in Islamabad, and urged them to unite on a single platform to oust the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government.
The president of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) secured bail in a money-laundering and assets-beyond-means case last month. Since then, he has been meeting with opposition leaders to try and revive the Pakistan Democratic Movement alliance, which stalled after rifts developed between the Pakistan Peoples Party and the other component parties over the former’s refusal to resign from assemblies, and the PDM issuing a “show-cause” notice over the election of the Senate opposition leader with the support of government-aligned Balochistan Awami Party. The Awami National Party, too, pulled away from the alliance over the “insulting” attitude of the PMLN and the JUIF.
Monday’s dinner was attended by a three-member delegation of the PPP—Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Yousaf Raza Gilani, former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, and Senator Sherry Rehman—as well as several leaders of the ANP. According to sources, Sharif urged the participants to unite against the upcoming federal budget and resist any “anti-people” decisions. The PPP and ANP have both sought some time to discuss the issue within their party.
Sources said the participants also discussed the overall political situation of the country but the event was marred by the absence of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari; JUIF chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman who also serves as the president of the PDM; and PMLN Vice-President Maryam Nawaz. PMLN spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said the dinner was informal and was not a PDM “event,” adding that the opposition alliance had not featured very prominently.
Meanwhile, the PDM—minus PPP and ANP—has summoned a meeting of its office-holders today (Tuesday). PMLN Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal told Geo News that the meeting did not include the PPP because its members had tendered their resignations from the PDM’s governing body. He said the meeting would discuss in what capacity the PPP can continue to be a part of the opposition alliance.