Monday March 04, 2024

Five-party independent opposition group to be formed in Senate

April 03, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has initiated the process to expel the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) for violating its consensus decision and getting support of the ruling alliance for election of their candidate as the opposition leader in the Senate.

The opposition alliance will issue show cause notices to both the parties. Meanwhile, five opposition parties in the Senate have decided to constitute an independent group in the House consisting of 27 members. These parties are PML-N, JUI-F, PMAP, National Party and BNP (Mengal).

The group would be led by the PML-N designated opposition leader Senator Azam Nazir Tarrar. The Senate Secretariat is being informed formally in this regard next week, the sources added.

The meeting of the PDM steering committee where the decision of seeking explanation from the PPP and ANP was held at the residence of PDM Secretary General and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday.

Both the parties were not present, as reportedly they were not invited. Other parties attending the meeting were the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, JUI-F, National Party of late Bizenjo, Balochistan National Party (BNP) of Akhtar Mengal, Jamiat Ahle Hadith of Professor Sajid Mir, JUP of Maulana Noorani, PKMAP of Mahmood Khan Achakzai and Aftab Sherpao’s Qaumi Watan Party (QWP).

The PDM Steering Committee has decided to issue show cause notices to the PPP and ANP for violating the committee’s decision to appoint a consensus candidate for leader of the opposition in the Senate.

The sources said notices would be issued to both the parties after approval by the PDM President Fazlur Rehman, who is unwell and bedridden. The two parties would be provided with an opportunity to explain the reason for their conduct.

Both the parties would be shown the door if they fail to come up with a satisfactory explanation. The sources said the leaders of eight parties held extensive consultations before taking the decision.

The PDM had decided last month that the PPP will get the slot chairman Senate while the deputy chairman will go to JUI-F and the PML-N will get the office of leader of opposition. The PPP and JUI-F candidates for the two slots couldn’t succeed in polls, as the presiding officer discarded seven valid votes of the PPP candidate Senator Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Subsequently, the PPP backed out of consensus understanding and opted to get the slot of opposition leader by roping in some members of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) party, which is part of the government.

The ANP stood by the PPP. The eight-party meeting also decided to keep the PDM intact even after the reply of the two parties facing the discipline charge. A follow-up meeting will be held later this month.

The PDM meeting also agreed to summon a meeting of the PDM heads ahead of Eidul Fitr. In response to the PDM’s decision of serving show-cause notice to the PPP, former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf asked the PML-N to resign from the assemblies if it wanted so without waiting the decision of the PPP CEC.

Raja said he was Senior Vice President of the PDM but he was not invited to the Steering Committee meeting. “I am Senior Vice President of the PDM but I have not been invited to the meeting,” he said while talking with The News.

He said the PPP still was a part of the PDM and wanted that the alliance should remain intact. “But today eight parties held the meeting without the PPP,” he said. He said Fazlur Rehman was a seasoned politician and he should not support just one party in the PDM.

“The PPP position has been clear on the issue of resignations from the assemblies from the very first day that this option would be used at an appropriate time after exhausting all the parliamentary tools including the no-confidence motion,” he said.