ISLAMABAD: The opposition in their all parties conference on Wednesday decided to step up pressure on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, announcing that they would launch a countrywide protest movement and observe a black day on July 25.
They also agreed to move a no-confidence motion against the Senate chairman.
The conference, chaired by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, was held in the federal capital to chalk out a joint strategy of the opposition parties against the government.
Speaking about the joint communiqué signed by the participants of the conference, Fazl, accompanied by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif, said the conference unanimously rejected the federal budget proposed for the new fiscal year as it would “make the life miserable for the poor, was detrimental to the interests of traders and industrialists and neglected the education and healthcare sectors”.
Opposition leaders attend the meeting in Islamabad on June 26. PHOTO: EXPRESS
“The opposition parties will continue to protest inside and outside parliament,” he added.
“They [opposition parties] will try their best to rescue the people from the excruciating hike in prices and the economic crises caused by the policies of the incompetent government which has come to power through rigging.”
In the first phase, Fazl said, the opposition parties would launch a public contact drive so that awareness could be spread about the agenda of the proposed “anti-poor” budget.
The conference also condemned the government’s alleged attempts to have the budget passed through rigging and demanded that production orders be issued for the two detained National Assembly members belonging to Waziristan so that they could represent their constituents.
The participants denounced the government’s references against the judges, describing them as politically motivated and an attack on the independence of judiciary and demanded their immediate withdrawal.
They stressed the need for legislation in connection with the judicial reforms, procedure of the appointment of judges and suo motu notices.
PPP leaders Farhatullah Babar, Sherry Rehman and Raza Rabbani attend the APC in Islamabad on June 26. PHOTO: EXPRESS
“The conference has also demanded legislation for the recovery of missing persons. The missing people, who are in the custody of security forces, should be produced before the courts immediately,” the JUI-F chief said.
“Laws should also be formulated to stop the use of torture,” he added.
The JUI-F chief further said the Election Commission of Pakistan should withdraw its notification for the deployment of the army inside polling stations during the upcoming elections in the tribal districts.
The participants of the conference condemned the unannounced censorship imposed on the media and demanded lifting of the restrictions.
They stressed the need for providing protection to journalists and called for formulating laws for this purpose.
The opposition parties expressed their concerns over conspiracies to roll back the 18th Constitutional Amendment and change the parliamentary form of government.
“We condemn every step being taken to weaken the parliamentary system,” said Fazl.
The conference also rejected what it described as a biased accountability drive. They called for equal treatment of everyone instead of carrying out an accountability campaign meant to target political opponents only.
The opposition parties also called for an end to the state institutions’ involvement in politics.
The conference rejected the debt inquiry commission announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan, describing it as unconstitutional.
The participants called for a parliamentary committee, with equal representation of opposition and treasury members, for investigating the country’s debt pile-up starting from the year 2000.
Fazl said there was no need for a National Development Council I(NDC) when the National Economic Council (NEC) already existed.
“These steps will serve no other purpose than making state institutions controversial,” he added.
The opposition parties decided that their members of the parliamentary committee formed to investigate the alleged rigging in the 2018 general elections would resign from the body.
“The committee has deliberately been made ineffective,” the JUI-F chief said.
The participants of the conference agreed to form a committee that would decide the joint opposition’s next course of action.
They also decided that the Senate chairman would be de-seated through constitutional means and the committee would suggest the name of a joint candidate for the post.
The opposition parties demanded the formation of a parliamentary committee to probe into the recent incidents of violence in North Waziristan.
They also condemned the government’s decision to not allow former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to meet his family and personal physician.
The parties demanded that Nawaz and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari should be provided with the necessary facilities they were entitled to under the law.
Speaking to reporters after the conference, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz said the longer the current government stayed in power, the more difficult it would become to pull the country out of the quagmire of crises.
The situation is growing worse with each passing day and the people are suffering. It’s about time that effective steps are taken to put pressure on the government,” she added.