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Bilawal invites Maryam: will opposition’s Iftar diplomacy work?

The PPP chairman has invited the opposition parties to chalk out a strategy for an anti-government movement after Eid. PML-N and PPP are already united against the government on the opposition benches and a formal alliance is in the offing. In the face of NAB cases and PM Imran Khan’s warning that there will be no NRO, it would be interesting to see if Iftar diplomacy would bring opposition on the same page.

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News Desk |

In an attempt to bring the opposition leaders on the same page, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has invited the leaders of the opposition parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N)’s Maryam Nawaz, to an Iftar dinner in the capital on Sunday. It is speculated that the PPP chairman has invited the opposition parties to chalk out a strategy for an anti-government movement after Eid.

Keeping in view the financial and political crisis, Bilawal while attending the PPP’s core committee meeting decided to hold an Iftar dinner for the leaders of the opposition parties. PPP party leaders Yousaf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Farhatullah Babar, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Rehman Malik, Chaudhry Manzoor, Naveed Qamar, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Humayun Khan and Pulwasha Khan attended the meeting.

“Maryam Nawaz can come to have Iftar with us,” Kaira said. Later, the PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb confirmed that a PML-N delegation led by Maryam Nawaz would attend PPP chairman’s Iftar dinner.

Following the meeting, PPP leaders Kaira and Bukhari said that Bilawal has invited the PML-N leadership to Iftar. “Maryam Nawaz can come to have Iftar with us,” Kaira said. Later, the PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb confirmed that a PML-N delegation led by Maryam Nawaz would attend PPP chairman’s Iftar dinner. She said Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz and other senior party leaders would also attend Sunday’s meet.

Apart from PML-N, Bilawal has phoned the Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Awami National Party (ANP) head Asfand Yar Wali Khan to extend an invitation to them. Also, he has requested Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Sirajul Haq, Chairman Balochistan National Party Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Chairman Qaumi Watan Party Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Imam Noorani’s Shah Awais Noorani and Mehmood Khan Achakzai to attend the party.

Read more: Is PML-N, PPP formal alliance against PTI government just around the…

It is expected that the opposition leaders would hold discussions on the economic situation of the country and a public protest campaign against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government after Eid.

PML-N, PPP gearing up for anti-government protest after Eid

Earlier, it was reported that after PPP’s co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari’s announcement that his party would launch a street protest against the PTI government after Eid, the PML-N also started gearing up for the protest.

It is speculated that the PPP chairman has invited the opposition parties to chalk out a strategy for an anti-government movement after Eid.

Interestingly, the country’s two major parties — PPP and PML-N — are considering to form a formal alliance against the PTI-led government. The motive is to give PTI government tough time. Any public announcement regarding the alliance is expected to be made after Ramzan.

On May 16, the PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif, who is serving out sentence in Kot Lakhpat jail after being convicted and sentenced by an accountability court in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference, has directed the party officials to start preparing for a protest against the government after Eid.

Read more: PML-N, PPP set to launch anti-government protest after Eid

Subsequently, PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal convened the meeting in Islamabad in which all senior party leaders, including members of the National Assembly and Senate, provincial presidents, vice presidents and main office-bearers, will participate.

Is PML-N, PPP alliance in the offing?

PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan recently revealed that a formal alliance was being hashed out by the senior leaders of both the parties to put up a united front against the government. He said that both sides were already united against the government on the opposition benches.

Asif Ali Zardari’s announcement that his party would launch a street protest against the PTI government after Eid, the PML-N also started gearing up for the protest.

The senator said that the opposition parties already support each other on the issue-to-issue basis, adding that the alliance would call an all opposition parties conference to prepare a joint roadmap.

“Both opposition parties, however, agree that they would not support or adopt any undemocratic means to topple the PTI led government and the movement would be democratic in nature,” he said.

Read more: PPP and PMLN alignment is a ’marriage of convenience’: Ali Muhammad…

Will PML-N trust PPP?

The news of possible formal alliance between the PML-N and PPP has strengthened the speculation that both the estranged political friends would join hands to help each other in the face of several NAB cases against them.

Sharif has already been serving a seven-year prison term at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail since December 24, 2018. His daughter Maryam and son in-law Captain (retd) Safdar have already been convicted and sentenced in the Avenfield Apartments reference. Shehbaz and Hamza Shehbaz are also standing trial in several NAB references.

PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan recently revealed that a formal alliance was being hashed out by the senior leaders of both the parties to put up a united front against the government.

Apparently, the former president Asif Ali Zardari is desperately in need of the opposition’s support to save himself and his sister from the ongoing money laundering and fake accounts cases. His son has also been summoned and probed by the anti-corruption watchdog.

In past, Sharif did not get any support from PPP when he was facing court cases. He understands Zardari’s situation but only time will tell if he would trust Zardari again, especially, after being ditched in the past.

In 2017, Zardari had refused to meet Sharif saying his party was ‘not ready to be used’ to save an individual. Despite the political differences between the two parties, apparently, both the parties desperately need each other’s support to give a tough time to the ruling party.

Read more: PPP & PMLN leadership has darkened the future of their parties:…

PM says won’t let PPP, PML-N Escape Accountability

In March, the Prime Minister Imran Khan while addressing a public meeting in Sindh reiterated that he wouldn’t let people escape accountability. PM Khan said Zardari and Sharif brothers can join hands or do as they please but the government will only spare them if they return the nation’s money.

“It was first the Sharif brothers who blamed Zardari for being corrupt then it was Zardari with his son accusing the Sharifs of corruption and now they both are joining hands to save each other,” Khan had said.

“Today, these politicians claim that democracy is in danger because accountability is being done,” the premier had said. Also, Khan has made it clear that he will not allow any underhand deal to be cut with the corrupt politicians and his government will not to succumb to any pressure on this count.

“Let it be known that there will now be no NROs or deals for people looking to evade justice,” he has vowed.

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