PPP gives tit-for-tat response to PDM

Demands apology from PML-N over unopposed elections in Punjab in cahoots with PTI


Our Correspondent April 04, 2021
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is addressing a press conference in Jacobabad district of Sindh. SCREENGRAB

KHAIRPUR/ ISLAMABAD:

An already shattered opposition alliance — the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — on Saturday received further blows after one of its major component parties — the Pakistan Peoples Party – announced a raft of decisions to further undermine its usefulness as deterrence against the government.

The party, while demanding an apology from the PML-N for unopposed elections of its senators in Punjab in cahoots with the PTI, also delayed its Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting scheduled for Monday (tomorrow).

In Khairpur, Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that some PML-N members might have been finding it difficult to swallow the news of the nomination of Yusuf Raza Gilani as opposition leader in the Senate.

The tit-for-tat move came a day after the PDM decided to sever ties with the PPP and the ANP and form a new alliance of five opposition parties having 27 members in the Senate.

The ties among component parties turned sour after the PPP appointed its stalwart Gilani as the Senate opposition leader, apparently in violation of what had earlier been agreed upon in a PDM meeting.

Read: PML-N laments PPP’s ‘disinterest’ in en masse resignations

“Since the Senate elections, only the PPP has been opposing the government whether that is in Centre or Punjab,” the scion of the Bhutto dynasty said at a news conference in Khairpur.

“The rest of our friends [in the PDM] are doing opposition with the opposition [PPP],” he added.

Bilawal said this lack of unity was only benefitting premier Imran Khan and his government.

“It’s the opposition’s failure that it has been unable to expose the government’s efforts to take away the independence of the State Bank and Imran Khan’s hypocrisy on Kashmir.”

Bilawal further maintained that it was PM Imran’s “good luck” that the opposition had not moved a motion of no-confidence against him after the government’s defeat in the election for the Senate seat from Islamabad.

The PPP chairman stressed the need for opposition parties to set aside their minor differences and focus on opposing the government.

He claimed that some parties were trying to give the false impression that the PPP had struck a deal with the establishment.

He added that those who were aware of the PPP’s past knew that it did not indulge in such politics.

“I think that we should refrain from hurling such allegations at each other.”

Bilawal hoped that PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who was currently taking a break from politics as he had been advised to rest by his doctors, would recover soon.

“He [Fazl] has a very important responsibility to keep the alliance intact and not take the side of any one party,” he added.

He urged the opposition parties to set their differences aside and unite against the PTI-led government.

Meanwhile, the PPP has also delayed its Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting scheduled for Monday (tomorrow) as both the upper and lower house of parliament would be in session that day.

“As most of the members of the PPP CEC are members of the parliament, they would be unable to attend meeting due to the session of both houses,” announced senior PPP leader Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari.

“[Therefore] the [PPP] chairman has postponed the meeting of the CEC scheduled for April 5,” he added.

This means there would be further delay in the PPP’s formal decision about en mass resignation and PDM’s long march.

A notification from Senate secretariat issued on Saturday read: “In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 54 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the President has been pleased to summon the Senate to meet in the Parliament Building, Islamabad, on Monday, the 5th April, 2021, at 10:00am.”

In a tit for tat move, the PPP has also sought an apology from the PML-N for electing its senators in Punjab unopposed and for helping a PTI candidate in securing a win against PDM joint candidate Farhatullah Babar in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The party lambasted the PML-N for supporting the PTI in Punjab and criticised a “secret meeting” of PDM parties after which they made a new bloc of 27 senators.

“The PML-N should apologise to the PPP for [its role in] defeating the PDM’s unanimous candidate Farhatullah Babar and helping a PTI senator win,” PPP Central Secretary Information Shazia Marri said in a statement issued on Saturday.

“[PML-N leader] Rana Sanaullah should [also] apologise to the PPP for electing unopposed senators in Punjab with the help of the PTI,” she added.

“If the PML-N brings a charge sheet against the PPP, then we also have a charge sheet against it.”

MNA Marri added that the PPP would raise the question as to at whose behest a conspiracy was hatched against the long march to save the PTI government by suddenly insisting for resignations.

She said the PDM was the name of an alliance against the government and the PML-N would have to explain “its use against the opposition parties”.

Read more: PPP demands apology from PML-N

She said the PPP would ask PDM chief Fazl why the opposition alliance was being used against opposition parties. On the issue of resigning from the assemblies, Marri asked if they were so necessary then why was PML-N still sitting in the assemblies.

Replying to PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz’s criticism of the PPP for accepting votes from the senators of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Marri said if the PPP had a godfather backing it, there would have been no talk of reopening old cases against the party’s co-chairman and ex-president, Asif Ali Zardari.

After the federal cabinet’s meeting on Thursday, Federal Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced that the Broadsheet Commission had found the original record of the Swiss Bank Accounts and handed it over to the government.

“Legal teams are examining the record and Swiss account cases against Zardari could be reopened,” he added.

In a late night development, PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari discussed political developments in the country, with particular reference to the ongoing friction in the opposition alliance.

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