Gilani’s ‘selection’

PML-N leaders accuse the PPP of taking help from BAP to get Gilani's nomination

March 28, 2021

A coalition of disparate political parties with diagonally opposite worldviews — strange bedfellows, so to speak — is always at the risk of falling apart at the slightest provocation. It takes a lot of political maturity and give-and-take to keep all the constituent parties together in the alliance pursuing a common, and higher political objective. PDM, a union of 11 political parties cobbled together with the avowed aim of dislodging Imran Khan’s government, is also not immune to the fragility of alliance politics and is finding itself in a testing situation where two largest parties in terms of their assembly presence are sparring over a key Senate office — all in plain sight of the public.

What became the latest spur for the deepening gulf between the PML-N and the PPP was the naming of former PM and PPP candidate Yousaf Raza Gilani as opposition leader in the Senate, much to the chagrin of PML-N which had staked a claim to the coveted position. When the Senate secretariat on Friday notified Gilani’s nomination, it elicited an angry retort from the PML-N, and quite predictably so. Party’s vice president Maryam Nawaz and senior leaders expressed their displeasure pretty vocally, accusing the PPP of taking help from BAP to get Gilani “selected”.

Gilani, who was in a one-to-one fight with PML-N’s Azam Nazeer Tarar, bagged the seat with the support of 30 senators, whereas Tarar had submitted his nomination papers with signatures of 17 members. The PML-N argues that the decision about the opposition leader had been taken by a PDM committee and it was a settled matter. The PPP, on the other hand, insists that the situation had drastically altered after Gilani’s defeat in the Senate chairman election. The ex-PM was at pains to emphasise his party desired to see the PDM intact. If this desire is to see the light of day, both the parties will have to mend fences and plot a path out of morass of differences they appear to have slipped into.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2021.

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