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Sunday October 24, 2021

Shahbaz Sharif says no party can expel another from PDM

PML-N's Shahbaz Sharif meets PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman ahead of tomorrow's much-awaited meeting

Web Desk
May 28, 2021
PDM chief PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman (left) and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif addressing a press conference in Islamabad, on May 28, 2021. Photo: Geo News Screengrab

Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on Friday observed that no party has the right to kick another out from the Pakistan Democratic Movement alliance.

His remarks came amid reports regarding his interest in seeing PPP and ANP rejoin the alliance.

The PML-N president was addressing a press conference in Islamabad alongside PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman after the two met today ahead of tomorrow's much-awaited meeting of the PDM.

"No party has the right to bring or kick another party out [of the allaince]. PDM is a forum and decisions are taken with consensus," said Shahbaz when asked about the PPP and ANP.

He also explained to reporters that when the consultations are completed and a decision is taken then the president of the alliance announces the future course of action.

When the reporters pressed the PML-N president about his stance on the two parties' return, he clarified that he does not have a "personal opinion" and whatever he says is always the "party's opinion".

The former Punjab CM also shared with the media personnel the agenda for tomorrow's PDM meeting. He said that the meeting that will be chaired by Maulana Fazlur Rehman will discuss the country’s political situation.

Shahbaz said the alliance will also discuss the budget that will be presented by the PTI government next month and the situation in Afghanistan.

'PDM had no link with dinner for Opposition'

The PML-N president also clarified why PPP was invited to the dinner party held for the Opposition by him.

Shahbaz said that his party had invited parliamentary leaders of all opposition parties and the "PDM had no link with it".

"We had invited parliamentary heads in NA and Senate and as I am the leader of the opposition and it was my responsibility," said Shahbaz. He also added that the dinner was held to discuss how the Opposition could adopt a "joint strategy" against the government ahead of their budget and exposed their "massive failures in all areas" in Parliament.

The Opposition leader then slammed that ruling party for their "failures", saying that they speak about the state of Madina every day but do not implement "anything".

Meanwhile, PDM President Fazlur Rehman said that Shahbaz had arrived at his residence to inquire about his health.

The former Punjab CM's arrival at the PDM chief's residence was expected.

On the other hand, as per reports, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is also establishing contacts with PDM parties. The PPP chairperson recently went to Dubai where he met Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) chief Akhtar Mengal.

The PML-N president has been focusing his efforts on bringing the PPP and the ANP back into the PDM fold to put pressure on the government once again.

According to veteran Geo News anchor and journalist Shahzeb Khanzada, the gulf in the PML-N leadership seems to be widening over the party's narrative and other issues.

Khanzada said during his show ‘Aaj Khanzada Kay Sath’ that the group in the party being led by Maryam wants to move forward with her father's narrative.

On the other hand, another group that favours Shahbaz's stance of reconciliation is backing the younger Sharif's stance of reconciliation with the PPP and the powers that be, to win the general elections 2023.

Another bone of contention between the two leaders is, as per sources, the issue of the PPP leaving the PDM. Shahbaz has taken exception to the rigid stance adopted by Maryam and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on the issue.

As per sources, Shahbaz had been displeased over how the issue was handled and wondered why the PPP was pressurised if it was not in favour of resigning from the assemblies.

PPP, ANP can rejoin PDM if they apologise: Fazl

Earlier this week, Fazl had said the PPP and ANP can rejoin the alliance if they apologised to the PDM for going against its decisions.

The PDM chief's comments came during his meeting with PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif at the latter's residence in Lahore on Tuesday.

Fazl, addressing a press conference after the meeting, said both parties — PPP and ANP — had been given sufficient time to get back to the PDM leadership, but they have not done so.

"There are currently no proposals to invite PPP and ANP at the PDM meeting on May 29," he had said. However, during the meeting, the leaders will decide the future of PPP and ANP in the alliance.

The fallout

On April 6, the ANP, and on April 11, the PPP had parted ways with the PDM after the latter served it a show-cause notice. The notice was served after PPP got Yousuf Raza Gilani appointed as the leader of the Opposition in the Senate, going against PDM's decisions, and ANP supported the move.

PPP was asked to explain its move to get appointed its candidate, Gillani, as Leader of Opposition in Senate, without first obtaining the consent of parties of the Opposition alliance.

ANP, on the other hand, was issued a notice for supporting the PPP in its efforts to get Gillani designated by roping in senators from the government's ally Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) to complete the numbers required.