–8-hour-long APC hosted by JUI-F’s Fazl announces mass contact campaign, rallies from July 25
–Akhtar Mengal excuses himself from attending Opp’s moot, calls on PM Imran instead
–APC demands across-the-board accountability, vows to oppose all attempts to derail democracy
ISLAMABAD: The joint opposition on Wednesday announced that they would bring a no-confidence motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani besides launching a mass contact campaign across Pakistan to mobilise public support against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
The decisions were taken in an eight-hour-long All Parties Conference (APC) hosted by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at a local hotel here. Delegations of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Awami National Party (ANP), the Aftab Sherpao-led Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), National Party and Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) attended the conference.
The PML-N delegation was led by National Assembly Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif and included party vice-president Maryam Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ayaz Sadiq and Ahsan Iqbal.
Former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, ex-Senate chairman Raza Rabbani, Nayyar Bukhari, Sherry Rehman and Farhatullah Babar represented the PPP. The party’s chairman, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, arrived at the event later.
The opposition’s aspirations were dealt a blow hours before the meeting started, as the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), an important coalition member of the ruling PTI, decided against attending the event.
Sources said that BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal took the decision after being invited for a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday afternoon.
Another major party missing from the meeting was the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), whose chief Sirajul Haq earlier turned down a personal invitation by Fazl.
DECISIONS TAKEN BY APC:
Addressing a news conference after the conclusion of the moot, Fazl, flanked by Shehbaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto among other opposition politicians, said the meeting has declared the recently pitched budget by the government as “anti-people, anti-traders and anti-industrialists.”
He said the opposition would continue protesting against the finance bill and in and outside the parliament, adding that the opposition parties would also launch public awareness movements in this connection.
“Opposition has unanimously decided to demand issuance of production orders for Waziristan MNAs Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar,” said the JUI-F.
He said the meeting also stressed upon the need for legislation on missing persons so that they can be presented before the court. “The meeting rejects ECP’s recommendation of deploying personnel of armed forces inside the polling stations during the upcoming elections in the erstwhile FATA.”
Maulana Fazl said the opposition would oppose all attempts to derail parliamentary form of democratic system in the country. He said the ongoing accountability drive should be across the board and without any discrimination.
Fazl said a steering committee will decide the name of the candidate to be put for the Senate chairman’s candidacy.
Fazl said that the opposition parties had also rejected the debt inquiry commission formed on the orders of Prime Minister Imran Khan, considering it an attack on parliament.
The APC declared that the PTI government’s governance has become a threat to national integrity, sovereignty and interests. The declaration said that the poor are facing the brunt of a series of disastrous policies, and that the given political situation is paving way for a violent revolution.
The opposition parties declared that the PTI government is fulfilling the interests of foreign elements, and has become a huge security risk.
They also called on state institutions to avoid meddling in political affairs, saying it was a disservice to democracy. They also announced to observe July 25 as “black day” to mark alleged rigging in the 2018 general election.
Meanwhile, sources said that the PPP and PML-N delegations rejected the proposal of mass resignations from the assemblies put forward by Maulana Fazl.
The representatives of both the parties reiterated that resignations won’t resolve the mass issues, and the opposition won’t have the opportunity to give its point of view inside the parliament.
The decision to hold the much-awaited moot hosted by was made during an Iftar-dinner hosted by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman last month.
During the meeting, Shehbaz Sharif urged the opposition to unite for the sake of the nation that is “reeling under the “anti-people budget” which should be shot down.
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said the national economy was in an “abject” shape and the people were looking towards the opposition for relief. “Our fight is not with [Prime Minister] Imran Khan but with those who selected him,” she was quoted as saying by sources close to the meeting.
Prior to the MPC, the parliamentary parties of the opposition held a separate meeting inside the National Assembly to formulate their strategy for the budget session.
Earlier, Maryam met her uncle Shehbaz Sharif at the Ministers Enclave to discuss matters related to the opposition moot.
Speaking to reporters in the parliament, Shehbaz said the opposition would make every effort to make the MPC called by Maulana Fazl a success.