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June 16, 2019

PPP, PML-N scions to thrash out next move

Top Story

June 16, 2019

LAHORE: The scions of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will meet today (Sunday) to discuss their future strategy together as the erstwhile nemeses, who have in turns dominated the Pakistan political landscape, find themselves joining hands to fend off an increasingly belligerent government.

The latest development in this unfolding saga comes as PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz invited PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for a meeting at the Sharifs’ Jati Umra residence. PML-N sources told Geo News that she extended the invitation during a telephonic conversation.

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb later confirmed that the PPP chairman accepted the invitation and he will arrive at Raiwind this afternoon. It has further been confirmed that a few important leaders from both sides will attend the meeting as well.

Geo News sources said the two leaders will discuss the contemporary political situation following the 2019 budget announced by the government. They are also likely to discuss the upcoming All Parties Conference as well as the arrests of Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur and Hamza Shahbaz, which the parties say are “political arrests”.

Later on Saturday, Bilawal strongly criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) “anti-people PTIMF budget”. Addressing a news conference in Lahore, the PPP chairman said he would have supported the government if they introduced a fair and people-friendly budget. “We gave them a chance, but we cannot support a budget that is against the country’s underprivileged,” he added.

“The government is taking away the rights of provinces. Sixty-per cent of Pakistanis live in Punjab but there has been an immense cut in its budget. Punjab’s labourers, pensioners and unemployed will bear the brunt of their [PTI] incompetence,” he added.

Bilawal added the PPP will not compromise on their principles of helping the poorest of the country, no matter how many people from his family and party are sent to jail.

Bilawal also confirmed he had accepted Maryam Nawaz’s invitation and will be meeting her on Sunday. “We have different perspectives but no single party can resolve the issues of the country alone,” he added and stressed upon the need to resolve issues together.

In May, Bilawal and Maryam met at an Iftar dinner in Islamabad, where leaders from other political parties were also present. The cordial meeting set the stage for the younger leadership of the two parties to steer them through their current challenges.

The invitation is viewed as response to Bilawal’s Iftar party last month in Islamabad for opposition leaders in which he had invited Maryam to devise a strategy against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. He had also hosted PML-N’s Hamza Shahbaz, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ayaz Sadiq among others.—News Desk/Agencies

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