No talks with govt until PM resigns: Bilawal

PPP chief says his party is ready even to sacrifice Sindh govt

Our Correspondent December 17, 2020


PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said his party is ready to sacrifice its government in the province of Sindh in order to dislodge the PTI led federal government, which, according to him, is flustered by the opposition parties’ decision to resign from federal and provincial legislatures.

“All [PPP] lawmakers including I have decided to submit their resignations. These resignations will be handed over to the party leadership on December 31. If needed we will even sacrifice our government in Sindh,” Bilawal said on Wednesday while talking to the media in Punjab’s provincial capital.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan must [accept the opposition parties’ demand to] resign by January 31 otherwise the government will face dama dam mast qalandar [rebellion]. We will use the ‘nuclear bombs’ of long march and resignations,” he added.

After the conclusion of the first phase of its anti-government campaign that saw six opposition rallies in all the four provinces, the 11-party Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) changed gear on December 14, setting a deadline for the government to quit by January 31.

Talking to reporters after a four-hour-long meeting in Lahore, PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman had said all lawmakers from the opposition parties would submit their resignations from the assembly seats to their respective party leadership by December 31.

The PPP chief acknowledged that the third force – apparently the military – could take advantage of protests against a democratic government to seize power. He said the opposition is aware of this danger and it wants to protect the country, its institutions and democracy.

However, he said, the political forces could now hold talks only after the premier resigned. Bilawal said the time for the government to hold talks with the opposition was over as there was no possibility of negotiating with a “puppet setup”.

“However, we can come to the negotiating table if the PM resigns. If he does that the procedure and platform for talks could evolve. The political forces then might negotiate and find a solution,” he said.

Commenting on the governmental decision to hold the Senate election at an earlier date, Bilawal claimed that the federal government is unnerved by the opposition parties’ protest rallies.

“The government knows that it cannot win a majority in the upper house and that its own lawmakers will not support it and therefore it wants to win the Senate polls through rigging.”

“[Senate polls] can take place even before February,” Federal Minister for Information Shibli Faraz said on Tuesday in reply to a question while addressing a press conference after a federal cabinet meeting.

According to Shibli, the cabinet meeting – chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan – had mulled over holding the Senate election in February instead of March through open vote instead of secret balloting.

Some analysts believe that the ruling PTI senses that it is just a breath away from becoming the largest party in the Senate and hopes that the majority in the house would solve its legislative problems as well as make the PDM redundant.

They said the move to hold the Senate elections earlier is expected to disrupt the PDM plan of forcing the government to resign and hold fresh general elections before March 2021.



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