Smaller parties point fingers at PPP, PML-N for backtracking on en masse resignation

Smaller parties of the PDM have expressed their reservations about the role of PPP and PML-N for backtracking on PDM charter of en-mass resignations from the assemblies.

ISLAMABAD: Smaller parties of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) have expressed their reservations about the role of the two major political parties in the alliance, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for backtracking on PDM charter of en-mass resignations from the assemblies.
Sources told Pakistan Today that during the meeting of the steering committee of the alliance held on Monday, the smaller parties accused the PPP and the PML-N for backtracking on the PDM’s charter on en masse resignation.
Sources said that Awami National Party (ANP) (Wali Khan Group), Balochistan National Party (Mengal), Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, National Party (Bizenjo Group), Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Qaumi Watan Party raised objection against the PPP and the PML-N.
Sources said that during Monday’s press briefing, Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s statement that “participation of any leader in the protest has not been declared mandatory, so there is no problem in non-participation” is an indication of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s staying away from the steering committee meeting.
The sources said that the PPP, due to its ‘political compulsions’, was at odds with other PDM allies.
Sources said that these differences could put the future of the PDM at stake, as the PDM leaders insisted that the nature of the differences in the alliance was not very serious but merely a difference of opinion. The reason for the controversy in the PDM is its failure to field joint candidates for the upcoming elections for eight vacant seats in the National and Provincial Assemblies which will be vacated in the near future, and the Senate elections in March and resignations from the assemblies, they added.
After the announcement of contesting the by-elections by the PPP, the PML-N also announced its participation in the by-elections, although Fazl and the PML-N had expressed their displeasure over the PPP’s announcement.
Sources said that the PPP leadership understands that by boycotting the Senate elections, the opposition parties will pave the way for the ruling party to sweep Senate elections.
They said that the PPP currently has more interests in the Senate than all the parties in the coalition, so it is not ready to give up.
Sources said that apart from the PPP, all other parties of the PDM are in favor of abstaining from the by-elections and the Senate elections and resigning from the assemblies as soon as possible.
They also said that the ball was thrown in the court of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the party, which had decided on these contentious issues at its meeting last week, but they were not brought to light. PPP Chairman Bilawal had said after the CEC meeting that these decisions would be put before the PDM leaders, they added.

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Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]

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