PML-N to mull over parliament boycott today

APC members have agreed not to take oath, stay out of parliament and stage countrywide protests

  Rameez Khan July 29, 2018
Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) senior leadership has decided to hold a meeting on Sunday (today) to decide whether they will concede to the call given by Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman to boycott parliament.

Since announcement of results of the July 25 general elections, almost all mainstream parties have levelled allegations of rigging and have accused the Election Commission of Pakistan of failing to hold free and fair elections in the country. Following the contentions, JUI-F chief Rehman called an All Parties Conference (APC) on Friday which was attended by the PML-N and the Awami National Party.

During the meeting, APC members agreed with ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan’s suggestion not to take oath, stay out of parliament and stage countrywide protests against the alleged rigging.

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However, the high-level meeting was skipped by some major parties like the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Mutahhida Quami Movement-Pakistan. The PPP has already announced to continue with the democratic process and sit on the opposition benches once the assembly takes oath.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and other top leadership during their meeting on Sunday will weigh the two options of either boycotting the assemblies or settling for a less aggressive approach of protesting against the alleged rigging as members the assemblies.

Shehbaz has already asked the APC participants for two days’ time to consult with his party.

According to sources, the PML-N may not consider boycotting oath-taking.

The source added that the party would proceed ahead with the protest like PPP by going in the assemblies.

“Remaining out of parliament will not help PML-N establish its case before the people,” claimed the source, adding that the APC had not yielded the results the party was expecting.

He also revealed that Punjab was slipping through PML-N’s hands and chances of making government there were diminishing. He said that the party would go to the assemblies, protest there and not give PTI a free hand. He further added that Shehbaz is also likely to stay in the National Assembly and work as an opposition leader; however, the final call would be made on Sunday.

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Meanwhile, Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan said the PML-N would decide its position by Sunday. He said that if the party decided not to take oath, it would have to keep in view its repercussions as well.

It is pertinent to mention that on Friday Hamza Shehbaz, before the APC announcement, stated that the PML-N would be going to assemblies and would lodge its protest there against the alleged rigged election. “PML-N is a mature party and would act maturely,” said Hamza, ruling out the possibility of protests and sit-ins.


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