The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) announced on Sunday that it would not be attending the dinner at Prime Minister Imran Khan's residence Bani Gala, following Balochistan National Party-Mengal's (BNP-M) rejection a day ago.
PM Imran has invited the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its coalition parties' lawmakers to Bani Gala for a dinner, where he is expected to take the MNAs in confidence regarding government policies.
The purpose of the dinner is to ensure the presence of MNAs of the ruling party and its allies in the National Assembly where PTI's budget 2020-21 is pending approval, claim sources.
The PM is also expected to discuss the government's strategy for the approval of the budget.
Besides, sources say, PM Imran will also address the concerns and grievances of miffed allies of the ruling party.
The PML-Q is an ally of the government but will not be attending the dinner, maintained the coalition party in its rejection of PM Imran's invitation.
The PML-Q spokesperson confirmed that the federal government contacted the party leadership and invited them to the dinner. However, said the spokesperson, the party leaders will not be attending due to their busy schedules.
Nonetheless, according to the spokesperson, the party will be voting for the government's side of the aisle for budget 2020-21.
The PTI-led government has been facing the ire of lawmakers currently due to its decision of a record hike of 26 per cent in the prices of all petroleum products.
Earlier, the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) also announced its refusal to attend the dinner at Bani Gala.
BNP-M President Sardar Akhtar Mengal said that the dinner is for allies of the ruling party, and his party is no longer an ally so they won't be attending.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari telephoned Mengal to discuss the current political situation in the country.
Both the leaders reportedly agreed on a joint strategy for the upcoming year’s fiscal budget.
BNP-M announced its decision to quit the PTI-led coalition government at the Centre on June 17, saying that the government failed to keep its end of the bargain.
The party has four votes in the National Assembly and one in the Senate.
During his announcement on the floor of the National Assembly, Mengal pointed out that his party had signed two agreements with the PTI - the first one when the government was formed after the general elections in 2018 and the other at the time of the presidential elections.
However, he regretted, the federal government had failed to implement even a single point of the agreements, chief among which was the recovery of missing persons.
Mengal lambasted the federal government for not taking any serious measures about the deteriorating law and order situation in Balochistan, lack of development projects, the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, and on several other issues, as well as Covid-19 response.
Rifts have also been reported among other allies and the PTI, as well as within the ruling party itself.
As it stands
The number of National Assembly members from the leading party and coalition partners reduced to 180 after BNP-M parted ways with PTI.
PTI has 156, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has seven, PML-Q has five while the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) has three members. Two independent members, while one from each, AML and JWP are part of the government alliance as well.
The opposition has 157 members with 84 from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), 55 from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), 15 members from the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), one from Awami National Party, and two independent members, who are also a part of the opposition alliance.
According to parliamentary sources, four members from Akhtar Mengal’s party who have parted ways from the government alliance have not yet announced becoming a part of the opposition alliance. They remain on independent benches.
With the inclusion of BNP in the opposition alliance, seats of the opposition party will jump to 161.
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