The disillusioned former allies of the government, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Friday took their first step to work as a joint opposition and called for sessions of both houses of the parliament.
The opposition’s notice to chairman senate and speaker national assembly have underlined the need to discuss the recent spate of violence in Karachi, general law and order situation, non-implementation of superior courts’ orders by the executive and “massive rigging and misuse of federal government resources” in the AJK elections.
Requisitions to convene the National Assembly and Senate session submitted with respective secretariats were signed by 104 members of the National Assembly and 33 Senators, including members of Jamaat-e-Islami and breakaway factions of the PML-Q. Signatures of 87 and 26 members are required to convene National Assembly and Senate sessions respectively and the speaker of the National Assembly and chairman Senate are bound to call a session within 14 days of the demand.
The PML-N and MQM have decided to work together as opposition in the parliament, but within the ambit of the Constitution. In addition, no commitment has come from both sides for the formation of a grand alliance.
On the other hand, the government has announced to hold local bodies elections later this year in a bid to engage the political parties and avert an opposition alliance.
The recent elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir triggered political maneuvering for the formation of an anti-government alliance. The postponement of elections in Karachi prompted the MQM to quit the ruling coalition at both the federal and provincial level.
According to FAFEN’s recent violence monitor, 216 incidents of political violence occurred across the country which affected 1,740 people. Among those affected, 595 people were killed, 1,094 injured and 51 were kidnapped during the March-May 2011 quarter.
The report said that out of total 1,740 victims across the country, 52 victims were directly affiliated with political parties and MQM was the most targeted political party with 18 victims followed by PPP with 10 victims. Sindh experienced the highest number of incidents of political violence, due to the increased incidents of target killings in Karachi, the report added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2011.
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