The constituent parties of an anti-government alliance – the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – will decide today [Saturday] whether or not two other opposition parties – the PPP and the ANP – should be allowed to return to the alliance formed in September last year to dislodge the PTI government.
“A decision about the PPP and the ANP will be taken with consensus in a PDM leaders meeting scheduled for tomorrow,” PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif told reporters on Friday after attending a dinner hosted by the PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Shehbaz said neither a single party in the alliance can show any other party the door nor can any one party ask any other party to return. “It is a forum where decisions are taken with consensus,” he said.
The PPP and the ANP parted ways with the PDM in March after the alliance issued show cause notices to the parties’ leadership for deviating from a decision with regard to appointment of the leader of opposition in the upper house of the parliament.
To a question regarding his personal opinion about the PPP’s return to the alliance, Shehbaz said he has no personal opinions as it is opinion of the PML-N as a party that matters.
When asked about the dinner he recently hosted for the opposition parties leaders, he said he invited the parliamentary leaders in his capacity as the National Assembly leader of opposition.
“[PML-N leader] Shahid Khaqan Abbassi has made it clear that it was a dinner for the parliamentary leaders only to form a joint strategy to expose the government's massive failure on all fronts.”
Shehbaz said: “The meeting will also discuss the political situation, the upcoming budget and the security situation in Afghanistan in the backdrop of withdrawal of the US forces.”
Criticizing the “selected” PTI government, he said the government relied solely on vaccines it got in aid and did not take any measures to import vaccines on its own.
“Vaccinations centres are not set up in the country in an appropriate number. It was the PML-N government that had taken steps on a war footing to deal with dengue fever.”
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman thanked Shehbaz Sharif for coming to his dinner. He said Shehbaz Sharif came to his residence two days earlier as well to inquire about his welbeing.
“It is unfortunate that people who have been imposed on this country are allowed to destroy it.
"They [government] are meddling with religious institutions and are trying to establish their own dummy institutions. The issue was to bring reforms and to bring these institutions [seminaries] to the mainstream; it was not to destroy them in the name of reforms.”
He said the government knows nothing about foreign policy.
“The government is trying to give Pakistan’s air bases to the US on the basis of a 2002 agreement. But it does not take into account its repercussions in Afghanistan.
“By giving bases in Balochistan, we will further alienate Iran that is already leaning towards India. China is also not happy with the incumbent government of Pakistan,” he added.
When asked if the PML-N will meet the same fate as the PPP given its new found reconciliatory approach towards the powers that be, he said it is not about what approach a party adopts, it is about the democratic principles that must be honored. “One party cannot be allowed to dominate others.”
PPP Secretory Information Faisal Kareem Kundi said the impression that the PPP is anxious to return to the PDM is wrong. The PPP will only return, he said, if JUI-F chief and the PML-N apologize for their remarks against the party and its leadership.
“The PPP will only agree to return, when a new PDM chief is appointed, as it was agreed that the PDM chief would be appointed on rotational bases,” he added.