News Desk |
In an interesting turn of events, the country’s two major parties — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) — are considering to form a formal alliance against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government. The motive would be to give PTI government tough time. Any public announcement regarding the alliance is expected to be made after Ramazan.
“Both sides are already united against the government on the opposition benches but a formal alliance is being hashed out by the senior leaders of both parties to put up a united front against this government,” PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan told The Express Tribune. Subsequently, 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.
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.
“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,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
On the other hand, the paper reported, the PPP leader and former Senator Farhatullah Babar denied knowledge of any such development. “The possibility of any such alliance being formed in near future cannot be ruled but no such development is taking place right now,” he said.
Khan has said that party policy comes from the PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif, adding he is “here with us” to give instructions. He added that PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif will also return from London after his medical treatment.
Sharif has been serving a seven-year prison term at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail since December 24, 2018 when an accountability court convicted him in the Al Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference. He was recently released on six-week bail by the Supreme Court and following the expiry of bail period, he surrendered before the jail authorities on May 7.
Khan has said that party policy comes from the PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif, adding he is “here with us” to give instructions.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed several references against Sharif and his family members in line with the Supreme Court’s July 28, 2017 order in the Panama Papers case. Sharif his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son in-law Captain (retd) Safdar have already been convicted and sentenced in the Avenfield Apartments reference by the accountability court. Shehbaz and Hamza Shehbaz are also standing trial in several NAB references.
On Maryam’s role, Khan said that she is now party’s vice president and she will lead the party alongside other senior party leaders.
Will estranged political friends join hands again?
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.
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, the PPP’s Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has also been summoned and probed by the anti-corruption watchdog.
The NAB filed several references against Sharif and his family members in line with the Supreme Court’s July 28, 2017 order in the Panama Papers case.
It is also no secret that 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, it is pertinent to mention here that 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 PTI.
Bilawal meets Sharif at Kot Lakhpat jail, regrets his incarceration
The PPP and PML-N have a long history and may not agree politically on certain things, but in March, Bilawal met Sharif at the Kot Lakhpat jail and inquired about his health. I was very sad that a person who has remained the prime minister of the country three times [is again incarcerated here]. It is 2019, and yet another prime minister is serving a sentence in Kot Lakpat jail,” the PPP chairman had regretted.
In response to a question about whether the Charter of Democracy (CoD) could be seen as the basis for his meeting with Sharif, Bilawal had said that Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif had signed the CoD in 2006 to put the country in the right order.
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.
He was of the view that the country could only function in a democracy and it was important to arrive at a code of conduct of how politicians should behave with each other. He had regretted that the entire CoD had not earlier been implemented. He had said solutions should be found to the political challenges and while talking to other political parties in favour of democracy, a new document should simultaneously be prepared.
On May 9, Bilawal along with Khursheed Shah and Naveed Qamar met the PML-N leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ayaz Sadiq, Khawaja Asif, Saad Rafique, and Marriyum Aurangzeb were a part of the delegation.
Won’t let you escape accountability: PM Khan to PPP, PML-N
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.