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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Bilawal-Maryam meet-up: Will Imran Khan sign a NRO after Eid?

News Analysis |

In a much-awaited Iftar dinner, Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and vice-President of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of Benazir Bhutto and Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), have decided to launch an anti-government campaign after Eid. According to details, PPP chairman invited Maryam Nawaz and other opposition parties over for an Iftar dinner to discuss the current economic and political situation in the country.

Sources privy to the meeting confirmed that the opposition leaders primarily deliberated on the timing and ‘mode of protest’ against the government. Later on, during a press conference, Bilawal maintained that the opposition has jointly decided to come up against the government for its anti-masses economic policies.

The situation in the PML-N camp worsened when Nawaz’s request to let him leave for London was turned down by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

PPP chairman also hinted at reviving the Charter of Democracy (CoD), a document signed by Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, to bring democracy back to Pakistan during the last days of former President  Musharraf’s era. The said document is also criticized for being a document signed between the parties of status quo to maintain their political control over the country to prolong their rule.

Read more: Nawaz-Bilawal meeting: what’s the future strategy?

Former premier, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, also stated that all parties have agreed that the government has failed in running the affairs of the country. He added that after Eid, an All Parties Conference (APC) would be held where a joint strategy would be formulated. This is not going to be for the first time that an APC shall discuss the mode of a much-anticipated anti-government campaign.

After the general election in 2018, the opposition parties did the same and even threatened the government to disrupt the political system. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, President of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), categorically threatened to disrupt the political process in the country if the results of General Elections 2018 are not declared “null and void”.

Sources privy to the meeting confirmed that the opposition leaders primarily deliberated on the timing and ‘mode of protest’ against the government.

The MMA president chaired a Multi-party conference (MPC) in August 2018 along with the president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, (PML-N) Shehbaz Sharif, in Islamabad. MPC rejected the General Election 2018 and demanded ‘free and fair’ re-election across the country. “The All Parties Conference has completely rejected the July 25, 2018 elections with consensus,” announced Rehman while addressing the media. “We do not consider this election to be the mandate of the public,” said defeated MMA president.

Read more: PML-N reshuffle: Maryam Nawaz becomes vice president

Government’s Reaction

Prime Minister Imran Khan commented on the Iftar dinner hosted by the PPP chairman that;  they [opposition] were the people due to which Pakistan hadn’t progressed. PTI has declared the strategy devised by the opposition ‘unwise’.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan, while addressing the media at Oora Chowk in Sialkot, said, “The Iftar dinner hosted by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in honour of different political parties was actually a renewal of the nexus between the PPP and the PML-N, as well as renewal of their pledge to protect each other’s corruption and personal political gains.”

She said that they had gathered to find out about the backdoors to escape from the country by putting pressure on the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). “A gang of plunderers has again gathered to protect each other’s corruption and personal gains as politically mature masses have already rejected such corrupt politicians,” she added.

Read more: Bilawal, Maryam Nawaz can join hands for protest

Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Federal Minister for Railway, also bashed the opposition parties and termed the get together as a “meet-up of thieves and plunders” who have looted money and weakened the economy of Pakistan.

A campaign to protect looted money?

Political commentators slammed the opposition leaders and blamed them for the economic mess the country is facing at the moment.

Filmmaker and artist, Ram Subramanian, said that “Bilawal Bhutto and Maryam Nawaz Sharif talking about sinking the economy and feelings of hopelessness in Pakistan’ is quite ironical considering that their surnames have led Pakistan to this sticky situation. They should support Pakistan right now instead of indulging in cheap politics”.


Sources reveal that the current struggle is being initiated by the two mainstream opposition parties for their personal political interest. It is argued that the PML-N wants Nawaz Sharif out of the prison at all costs and nobody was crying for the masses once Nawaz was given a six week long leave on medical grounds. The situation in the PML-N camp worsened when Nawaz’s request to let him leave for London was turned down by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

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

Similarly, Asif Ali Zardari is facing several cases including money laundering through fake bank accounts and Bilawal is allegedly protesting to protect the looted money and his father. It is believed that the opposition has given an ultimatum to the government and establishment to sign an NRO in order to avoid any future political confrontation and spare both Sharif and Zardari. The question stands; will Prime Minister Khan decide to step aside from his principled position against corruption and money laundering to secure his government or not?