ISLAMABAD: The opposition parties are busy mulling over new political alignments on the political front. At the same time, PM Imran met confidants after the PML-Q and MQM-P bared knuckles.
The PPP Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, held a meeting with chief of JUIF and President Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Maulana Fazlur Rehman at his residence here on Friday to discuss the joint strategy of the opposition in the Parliament for the coming session of parliament.
Former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and PPP central leader Qamar Zaman Kaira also accompanied the party chairman for the meeting. It was the first meeting between Bilawal and Fazl after the PPP left the opposition alliance PDM early this year.
According to sources, PPP’s senior leader Khursheed Shah played a key role in resumption of talks between the two political parties, as he held a meeting with the JUIF chief two days back. The two sides discussed the political situation in the country. They expressed concerns over rising inflation in the country. A joint strategy on electronic voting machine and accountability laws could lead to further success in parliament, they agreed.
The PPP chairman said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s anti-people policies could be thwarted only through the Parliament. “The recent defeats of the government in the Parliament are major achievements of the opposition,” he added.
Later on, responding to questions by journalists, Bilawal said the government was being defeated in the Parliament repeatedly. He said the government was forced to run away from the joint session. “We also thwarted the conspiracy of EVMs and undermining the ECP. We hope to defeat every conspiracy in future,” he said.
The PPP chairman said political relations of the Bhutto family with the JUI go back three generations and at the moment Maulana Asad and he were colleagues in the Parliament. In a response to a question, Bilawal said it was a courtesy call and they were thankful to Maulana Fazlur Rehman for playing his role and all opposition parties that jointly defeated the government in the Parliament. About the PDM, he said the opposition alliance was not discussed in the meeting.
Responding to the question about the PPP rejoining the PDM, Maulana Fazl said that issue was not discussed as the current sitting was just a goodwill gesture by the two sides. “Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is our guest and it is a tradition that nothing should be said which would violate our traditions,” he said.
The Maulana said Bilawal’s arrival was an expression of goodwill gesture and a sign of good relations. About a no-confidence motion against the Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, the Maulana said the matter did not come under discussion today. “We will hold consultations on it when the time comes.”
In a reply to another question, he said the fake government had no right to reform. “The opposition is thwarting the tactics of fake government; if legislation is passed with a fake majority, it will be a dictatorial move. We demand transparent elections. The government got power through stolen mandate, but it is not acceptable,” he added.
In a reply to another question, the PDM president said the opposition was playing a united role in the parliament keeping in view the difficulties being faced by the nation. He said the government, with a stolen mandate, had no right to carry out electoral reforms.
Meanwhile, Prime Minster Imran Khan held meeting with his close associates on the emerging political situation and future strategy. He asked his party men not to worry as the government would overcome the difficulties.
Federal Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that unlike other countries, Pakistan’s economy is booming while the main reason for rise in inflation is the global wave owing to the coronavirus.
The minister was talking to the media after a meeting of PTI core committee here, which mainly focused on economy and inflation while issues related to local body elections in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were also discussed.
He said that the income of certain segments of society had increased despite growing inflation in the country, including hired laborers, masons, plumbers, mechanics, general shopkeepers; sales of vehicles, motorcycles and tractors have increased significantly, farmers have access to urea fertilizer at cheaper rates.
Fawad noted that the salaried class was facing difficulties due to inflation but the income of most of them had increased. He said that they were considering providing facilities to the sections most affected by inflation.
The minister said that the core committee meeting also considered issues related to local government elections. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has appealed to the judiciary over the situation that has arisen after the court decision regarding the local bodies elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. We appeal to the judiciary to make a decision soon, so that we can move forward.
He said that the core committee of PTI appreciated the move of Prime Minister Imran Khan to appear before the Supreme Court on short notice. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan reached the Supreme Court on a half hour notice and responded as per the expectations of the Supreme Court, which shows how much the PTI respects the courts.
Fawad noted that the situation in Afghanistan was also considered in the meeting of the core committee. According to a recent report of The Economist, 24 million people in Afghanistan are suffering from extreme poverty. Eight children have died due to starvation.
“We want the world, especially Muslim countries, to come forward on the situation in Afghanistan,” he said and while referring to the electoral reforms, he said, “We want the electoral reforms for the 2023 elections to come to Parliament for early approval. The Speaker is in touch with the opposition in the National Assembly. We are trying to reach a consensus on electoral reforms. We are trying to propose a system where no one can point a finger at the election results”.
Fawad said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is the only political party which has a vote bank in the whole country. Prime Minister Imran Khan is the leader of the federation. And we don't talk about sectarianism, we talk about nationality, we are the party that puts the interests of the federation first.
“PTI is the political force of Pakistan which will move forward only for the survival of the federation and Pakistan. We will all move forward on the issue of electoral reforms,” he maintained.
In response to a question, he said that the opposition is like a family, having no leader, no plan, Bilawal Bhutto does not know the streets of Larkana, what he will know about the politics of Pakistan. Maulana Fazlur Rehman earlier had come to Islamabad with a group, they are trying to stand on each other's support: they stand and fall. They are trying to walk with their hands on each other’s shoulders as they are the tired wrestlers.
He said that political issues are everywhere, the coalition parties have expressed full confidence in the decisions of the Prime Minister during the meeting. Replying to a question, the minister said, “There is a mechanism for electoral reform, we are just trying to create a consensus on it, if the opposition does not like our electoral reforms, let them bring their own, let us discuss it.”
Asked about the contact with the Election Commission, Fawad said that Dr. Babar Awan had met the Election Commission last week. The ECP is an important institution and we want to take it along.
About the national cricket team’s performance, the Minister said that the way the national cricket team has played, should be appreciated, ‘we are proud of our team, the whole nation is behind the Pakistan cricket team’.
Participating in Geo News programme, Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath, MQM Pakistan leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui admitted to having issues with the government and “we have expressed our concerns many a time”. He said his party had requested the Prime Minister to share legislation agenda with allies before it is presented in the Parliament. He said the government must accept responsibility if it was failing to deliver on promises made.
He said he hoped the government would deliver on its promises but did not deliver it would. He said the current situation expected the Prime Minister to take things seriously. “Only then situation will improve.” Siddiqui said public disquiet would accentuate if government failed to take steps needed to be taken, otherwise economy would not be able to bear the burden of weak decision.
Speaking separation to the same programme, Muslim League (Q) leader Kamil Ali Agha complained that the government did not include them in consultations on important national issues including while making policy decisions. “This government has a manufacturing default. It does not consult us. It come to us when needed and then it vanishes again”. He said his party stood with the government on promises made when forming the alliance but government needed to set its direction right.
PML-Q Punjab President Chaudhry Parvez Elahi has chaired a party’s central committee meeting on the directives of PML-Q President and former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain to discuss current political situation and issues with the Punjab government.
Reports said during the meeting, the Central Committee has discussed the prevailing and future political situations, while especially showed concerns over the attitude of the Punjab government. It also discussed a plan for the future endeavours. The meeting would continue on tomorrow and details would be shared after further consultations. Speaking on the occasion, Senator Kamil Ali Agha said apart from being a federal government ally, they could only meet their speaker for budget meeting and for their own purpose. He said there were many complaints from the party regarding the attitude of the Punjab government. The meeting was attended by secretary general PML-Q and Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, Federal Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi, General Secretary Punjab Senator Kamil Ali Agha, MPAs Hussain Elahi, Salik Hussain, and other party leaders.
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