Three major parties in an 11-party opposition alliance – the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – held high level consultations on Sunday to devise a common strategy for the Senate polls scheduled for March 3 as they expressed resolve to defeat the ruling PTI in the election.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari met the PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman at his residence in the federal capital. Bilawal, who was accompanied by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani and Farhatullah Babar later addressed a joint press conference with Fazl.
“The PDM has challenged the government on every front. We defeated the ruling party from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) to Pishin [in Balochistan]. This proves that the people of Pakistan are not with the PTI but the PDM,” Bilawal said in a reference to the recently held by-polls.
“We hope to surprise the government in the upcoming Senate polls and ultimately send it packing. We will establish a peoples’ government once Prime Minister Imran Khan resigns,” Bilawal said, adding that the PDM also has the support of the provincial and federal lawmakers.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who heads his eponymous faction of the JUI, said the PDM is not an election alliance rather it is an anti-government movement.
“All constituent parties of the PDM are united for the Senate polls in all the provinces and will participate in the election by adopting a unified policy,” he said.
According to Fazl, there is a sense of despair in the ranks of the ruling party as it is already losing the hope of getting enough seats in the Senate. He said the PDM is raising its voice for the peoples’ rights and against rising inflation and unemployment.
Also read: No evidence of establishment's neutrality in Senate polls: Fazl
“It would be a service to the people if we managed to send the incumbent government packing. For the Senate polls, we have nominated joint candidates. We hope for better results,” he said
The PDM president said the opposition alliance will devise its future strategy right after the upper house election and a high level meeting of the PDM parties’ chiefs will be convened.
Earlier, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who belongs to the PML-N and former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf who belongs to the PPP also met Fazl.
According to sources, the leaders discussed seats adjustment for the polls at the meeting. The participants also devised a strategy to ensure success of Yousuf Raza Gillani, who is the PDM’s joint candidate from Islamabad.
The PDM is attaching great importance to the contest for the Senate seats in Islamabad and declares it a referendum against the PTI. While the provincial assemblies’ lawmakers select most of the senators, the members of the National Assembly vote for the Senate candidates from Islamabad.
The PDM believes that if Gillani defeated the ruling party’s candidate Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh at the general seat from the federal capital, it would mean that the PTI has lost majority in the National Assembly and it would be like a vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In view of this crucial contest, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has also flown to Islamabad to cast his vote for the PDM candidate. The former president had not been attending the NA session due to his illness and coronavirus pandemic for quite some time
The sources said Zardari will also attend both the receptions – to be held today [Monday] in honor of the PPP’s candidates and the one that will be held tomorrow [March 2] in honor of the PDM candidates.
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