- Joint Opp parties, including PML-N, PPP, MMA, decide to field joint candidates for PM, NA speaker, deputy speaker
- Vow to give PTI govt in Centre ‘tough time’ and vie for early election
- APC fails to decide Sanjrani’s fate as PML-N and PPP reluctant to touch upon issue
ISLAMABAD: The major opposition parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, have evolved a consensus over fielding joint candidates for the top slots of prime minister, National Assembly speaker and deputy speaker.
Being the largest opposition force in the National Assembly, PML-N would name its candidate for the slot of prime minister while the joint nominee for the office of speaker and deputy speaker would go to the PPP and MMA, respectively. A committee has also been formed in this regard.
In a multi-party moot that was called to formulate a strategy in order to counter the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) majority in the Centre, the mainstream political parties resolved to give a tough time to the Imran-led PTI and vie for early election.
A decision to boycott parliament that was taken by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) in the last APC was rejected by the moot as all parties agreed to endorse PPP’s proposal of joining the parliament and give a tough time to the PTI inside and outside the house.
SANJRANI SAFE FOR NOW:
The parties, however, failed to agree on a no-confidence motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani—whose election to the coveted remained controversial till date—besides other major decisions.
One of the reasons behind the failure to agree on some of the key decisions remained the inability of party representatives to act independently.
“The PPP and PML-N leaders who attended the meeting had no powers to take decisions,” a participant told Pakistan Today while calling them ‘robots’.
“Whenever a proposal was floated, the PPP guys would turn to their mobile phones to seek party chiefs Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s opinion, while the same was the case with the PML-N people,” he said.
In view of such situation, it was finally decided that a committee would be formed to make decisions as Shehbaz Sharif sought time to consult Nawaz Sharif while the PPP delegation wanted to consult Zardari,” a leader of one party said.
The senior politician was of the view that the PPP delegation kept mysterious silence when a proposal was floated to bring a no-confidence motion against Sanjrani.
“Even Shehbaz Sharif kept silent when the proposal was being discussed. Despite a majority of the participants supporting the idea, neither the PPP nor the PML-N leaders supported it,” the senior politician said.
Another participant of the meeting, who hails from a smaller province, said that the meeting agreed to contest all future elections together.
“Not only the opposition would contest the upcoming elections of the prime minister, chief ministers and speakers collectively, it was also agreed that the opposition would also field joint candidates to defeat the PTI nominees in the future by-elections,” the participant said.
Elaborating further, the opposition politician said that under the agreed formula, all the parties would support the party whose candidate was second to the PTI candidate or the party which had earlier won the seat.
“It has been decided that the Joint Action Committee would formulate ToRs (Terms of Reference) for the alliance. The action committee would meet on Friday after consultations with the leadership of respective parties,” the participant said.
Commenting on Sanjrani, the source said the PPP remained silent on the issue because it seems like Zardari doesn’t want to lock horns with the powers-that-be, especially in the wake of graft cases against him.
“You know Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur have already been summoned by the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) in money-laundering scandal, the PPP is not in a position to further complicate the situation,” the politician added.
As for the PML-N, it did not want to embarrass the PPP perhaps that was the reason it did not support the no-confidence vote against Sanjrani.
When Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao was reached for comments, the senior Pashtun leader said that the meeting was a welcome sign as all the opposition parties had agreed to fight their case unanimously.
Sherpao, who is widely respected across the Pashtun belt, further said that the recent elections had set a very negative precedent as all the Pashtun leadership had been wiped out to facilitate a single party—PTI.
“This would bear negative results. The region along Afghanistan is already passing through a critical phase. Then there is already a feeling of being left behind in the FATA. In such an environment, the wipeout of Pashtun leadership is a bad omen. The presence of senior lot would always help resolve issues amicably,” concluded the senior Pashtun leader.