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Imran Khan: A Public Hero After UNGA Speech scared Opposition in delaying Protest

The opposition parties want the JUI-F’s leadership to organize one more APC and formulate a joint strategy to topple the government. Is opposition afraid of the premier’s popularity after his UNGA speech?

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Mainstream opposition parties, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), have urged the Jamiat-Ulema-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) not to take any unilateral action against the government. The opposition parties sought some time for the consultation in order to develop a joint strategy to topple Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government.

Analysts believe that the opposition has sensed the situation and has seen the popularity of the premier after his UNGA’s speech, therefore, they want the JUI-F to delay its Azadi March.

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It has also been agreed to summon All Parties’ Conference (APC) for the further consultation. The decision was taken at a meeting between Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad, wherein the leadership of both parties agreed to chalk out a joint strategy along with Fazal-ur-Rehman, whom they urged against a solo flight.

The two leaders urged the JUI-F leadership that unity was the need of the hour. PPP and PML-N want the opposition to be united under one flag and collectively more forward to force the government to hold early polls.

The PPP delegation comprised Farhatullah Babar, Saleem Mandviwalla, Yousaf Raza Gillani, Nayyar Bukhari, Sherry Rehman, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Naveed Qamar, and Mustafa Nawaz Khokar, whereas Raja Zafarul Haq, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Rana Tanveer, Amir Muqam and Marriyum Aurangzeb represented the PML-N at the meeting.

There seems to be no reason for criticism of the PPP before another round of consultation or meeting among the top leaders of the opposition parties

Recently, while speaking at a news conference after presiding over a meeting of the party’s core committee in Islamabad on Sept 19, Mr. Bhutto-Zardari had ruled out the possibility of joining the long march. Bilawal also said “I do not believe in politics of Dharna. I would do politics of Benazir Bhutto”.

It is important to recall that the PPP chairman has made it clear several times that his party won’t be part of any campaign against the government using the religion card. JUI-F, on the other hand, is certain to focus on religion in order to seek maximum support from the religious segments of the country. As a matter of fact, there seems to be no dispute the government is dealing with related to religion. This is why it deems difficult for the JUI-F to invoke religion card against PM Khan.

It is worth noting that Hafiz Hussain Ahmed has openly criticized the PPP over its stance on the long march issue. “The PPP has adopted double standards. On the one hand, it considers our long march unconstitutional and illegal and on the other, it is extending moral and political support to our protest,” he said.

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While alluding to former President Asif Ali Zardari and his sister who are currently in the custody of the NAB, the JUI-F’s information secretary pointed out that they want to come out. “The problem with the PPP is that those who are in jail want to come out and those who are out of jail do not want to go to jails,” Mr Ahmed said.

When asked about the PPP’s allegation that the JUI-F leadership was using “religion card” during the planned anti-government protest, Mr. Ahmed said the JUI-F had never criticized the PPP for always using the “Sindh card” in politics.

Later on, PPP Secretary General Nayyar Bokhari issued a statement terming the criticism from the JUI-F “uncalled for” and “regretful”. Mr Bokhari said the JUI-F leaders should not issue “objectionable” statements against the opposition parties which had participated in all the previous MPCs that had been convened by Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Read more: A Pakistani Prime Minister telling UN to fulfill its Duties: A Sight to Watch

The PPP leader also suggested organizing one more meeting for the consultation. “There seems to be no reason for criticism of the PPP before another round of consultation or meeting among the top leaders of the opposition parties,” Mr Bokhari said in response to the reported statement of JUI-F’s information secretary Hafiz Hussain Ahmed who had alleged that the PPP wanted to appease certain forces in the hope of a deal.

Political commentators believe that at this moment PM Khan enjoys popularity not only in Pakistan but also across the Muslim World. Therefore, the opposition is careful not to come on the streets under such circumstances when people may not protest against the premier. Similarly, the way PM Khan took up the matter of blasphemy and Islamophobia, it has completely washed out the narrative of the JUI-F.

There is left nothing to propagate against the premier which has made political future of the JUI-F’s leader questionable.

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