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June 17, 2019

Bilawal, Maryam plan joint strategy

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June 17, 2019

LAHORE: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz have agreed on devising a joint strategy against the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government.

They met at latter’s Jati Umra residence in Raiwind on Sunday and demanded the federal government immediately withdraw references against judges. They also agreed to launch joint struggle for true independence of judiciary and supremacy of the constitution. The two political parties also agreed on not letting the government pass the budget 2019-20 (finance bill) in National Assembly.

The meeting was held on the invitation of Maryam Nawaz, joined by party leaders from both sides also. Both the leaders voiced serious concerns over the current economic situation of the country.

Flanked by his stalwarts including PPP Central Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira, General Secretary Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmad, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, PPP-P Parliamentary leader in Punjab Assembly Syed Hassan Murtaza, Bilawal reached Jati Umra in the afternoon. They were received by PML-N leaders including Maryam Nawaz, Mohammad Zubair, Maryam Aurangzeb, Captain (retd) Mohammad Safdar, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed and Rana Sanaullah Khan.

Bilawal and Maryam held two sessions of talks before lunch, and the meeting was attended by senior leaders of both sides. In the post-lunch session, both the leaders had a detailed one-on-one meeting.

In the meeting, which continued for over an hour, both the leaders criticised the PTI government over its targeted victimisation of the opposition leaders, while agreeing that it was time to gather all the likeminded parties on one-point agenda against the incumbent government. They also held that the ruling party leadership had brought embarrassment to the country in the world and the ‘selected PM’ wasn’t capable of leading the nation.

Both also slammed the government for imposing curbs on the media, torturing journalists and snubbing the voice of opposition as well targeting the institution of judiciary. They demanded National Assembly speaker fulfil his constitutional responsibilities and issue the production orders for the detained opposition leaders.

Both the leaders discussed proposed all parties conference of JUI-F chief Mualana Fazlur Rehman and the 2006 Charter of Democracy (CoD), signed between two former prime ministers -- Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.

The PPP and PML-N leadership agreed that the 2006 CoD was a historic document and the need of hour was to implement it in letter and spirit in the prevailing scenario.

Later, a joint statement was issued by the PML-N, stating that both sides had agreed to resist any move meant to exert pressure on the institution of judiciary and demanded the government withdraw references against judges.

Meanwhile, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, while talking to the media at the residence of PPP central leader Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, said his meeting with Maryam Nawaz brought all the core issues under discussion. He said it had been decided that the opposition would not let the government pass the budget, adding that it was not possible for any party to deal with the prevailing challenges single-handedly.

To another question, he said the PPP and the PML-N were two political parties, having their respective ideologies and vision, adding that both had opposed each other in the past over various issues. However, he said it was time to do politics of ideology instead of doing it over personal issues.

He said in the meeting with Maryam, he had found that she had feelings for the poor people of Punjab and hoped that she would ‘honestly’ move ahead in addressing the problems faced by the nation.

News desk adds: A joint statement, issued shortly after the Maryam-Bilawal meeting, read: "Lengthy consultations took place between the two leaders. Leaders from both parties were part of the consultations [wherein] the current situation of the country was analysed in detail.

"Both [Maryam and Bilawal] agreed that all aspects of life in the country are on a downtrend. Country is being pushed into deep quicksand of economic deterioration [and all economic indicators pointing to an extreme crisis," the statement added.

Addressing a press conference at Aitzaz Ahsan's residence, Bilawal said he would start a movement on June 23 from Nawabshah, where a rally would be held in commemoration of the birthday of the late former prime minister and his mother, Benazir Bhutto. "We won't let the parliament pass the 'enemy of the people' budget,” he warned.

"The PTIMF budget is the enemy of the people." he said, referring to a portmanteau of the abbreviations of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which confirmed a staff-level agreement on a bailout package worth $6 billion for a period of three years on May 12 to support Pakistan’s economic reforms.

"We will also get in touch with the parties that have formed alliances with the government," he said, adding that he and his allies would talk to the people, go door-to-door and house-to-house, and out on the streets.

Bilawal noted that he would follow up with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman about the opposition parties' all parties conference (APC). "We have already given a chance to the [incumbent] government and we are giving them another one now," he said.

The PPP chairman said he hoped that Maryam Nawaz would "join us with honesty. "We, the young leaders, including Maryam and I and others, are going to play a lengthy political innings. We are separate political parties and we will continue with our mudslinging and our politics. But we will try our best not to make disagreements personal but only on viewpoints," Bilawal added.

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