Maryam accuses PPP of ‘submitting to Baap’ by accepting BAP votes

PPP undermined struggle for democracy and rule of people, says PML-N vice president


Rana Yasif March 27, 2021
Maryam Nawaz addresses a news conference in Lahore. SCREENGRAB

LAHORE:

An oxymoronic political love affair between two bitter rivals of the past has turned sour before blossoming. Not to anyone’s surprise, though. One doesn’t have to be a political soothsayer to predict that this unnatural political romance was doomed from the start. Their mutual distrust is so visceral that they couldn’t stop suspecting each other despite joining hands for the same cause.

Now, a surge of acrimony has replaced the aura of bonhomie between the two. This change was quick, cruel and painful which immediately reopened old wounds and resurrected the bitter past.

“It is sad that you have massively dented the struggle for democracy, the struggle for the rule of the people for a petty office. But I believe it’ll be much more damaging for you,” PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said while speaking briefly to the media outside the Lahore High Court on Saturday. She was in the court to submit a surety bond of Rs1 million for bail in the Jatti Umra land allotment case.

 

Maryam was referring to the PPP, one of the main components of the 11-party opposition alliance, which fielded its own candidate, Yousaf Raza Gilani, for the office of opposition leader in the Senate in a move that Maryam’s party claims was in violation of what had been agreed upon in a meeting of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

Gilani was notified as opposition leader after some smaller opposition parties – including ANP, Jamaat-e-Islami and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) – threw their weight behind him. “You were so desperate for this petty office that you accepted votes from BAP,” Maryam said. BAP is considered to be a brainchild of the security establishment which the PDM blames for the current political morass.

“I don’t think this is the defeat of PDM, including the PML-N. In my assessment it is the defeat of those who compromised on their principles for a petty office,” she said, again referring to the PPP. “Leader of the opposition holds no value. It is the pettiest gain [compared to the PDM struggle]. If you were so desperate, then you should have asked Nawaz Sharif and he would not have refused.”

 

She recalled that all PML-N lawmakers had voted for Gilani first during the Senate elections and then during the election for the chairman Senate slot.

“It’s sad that you accepted votes from BAP which follows the commands of its baap (godfather),” Maryam said while playing on words. “BAP MPs will sit on opposition benches if baap says so, and join the treasury benches if baap wills so.”

Read more: PPP is using PDM for personal gains: PML-N

She claimed that PML-N nominee for the slot of opposition leader Azam Nazeer Tarar had received a phone call from Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani who offered him four or five BAP votes. Tarar, however, turned down the offer saying that he would not betray his party and the PDM.

The PML-N is feeling disillusioned and betrayed because it believes the PPP, whose support was crucial for the PDM’s anti-government struggle, has ditched the opposition alliance by cutting a clandestine deal with the security establishment.

She said it was the first time in the 73-year history of Pakistan – and perhaps in international history – that treasury MPs had voted for the leader of the opposition in the Senate and ‘selected’ him. She said the PPP chose to self-deceive by saying that BAP MPs were independent with no political affiliation. “You cannot hoodwink the people,” she added.

 

Again addressing the PPP, she said if the party wanted to “get selected” and was willing to “act obediently”, then it should follow in the footsteps of Prime Minister Imran Khan who was “brazenly following the commands of baap”.

Maryam called upon the PPP to publicly admit that it has submitted to the “commands of baap” and used it for petty political gains. “You cannot run with the hares and hunt with the hounds,” she said. “When you stop believing in the power of the people; when you are convinced that ‘getting selected’ is the only option, then this means you have lost the power of your votes.”

Asked about the possibility a minus-PPP PDM, Maryam said Maulana Fazlur Rehman would make a formal statement in his capacity as the president of the alliance. She, however, sought to downplay PPP’s possible exit from the PDM. “The remaining component parties, including PML-N, would give the government a tough time because they enjoy the power of people,” she said.

The PML-N vice president recalled that Asif Zardari had offered in a PDM meeting to move a no-confidence motion against Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar because the “selectors” also didn’t like him. “However, Mian Nawaz Sharif had made it clear that he would not stand with the ‘selectors,’” she claimed.

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