The chief of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Monday said it was his personal opinion that if the Opposition MNAs and MPAs do not submit their resignations, then the long march may not be effective.
Speaking to journalists in Peshawar, the JUI-F chief said the strategy related to the long march — which is scheduled to take place on March 26 — will be finalised during the PDM’s meeting tomorrow (Tuesday). “The submission of resignations to the Parliament is also on the agenda of the meeting,” Fazl said.
The PDM chief said that the timing of the long march will be decided after consultation with all members of the Opposition during the meeting. “All parties of the PDM have mutually decided to start the long march on March 26 and [even] coronavirus cannot stop us from proceeding,” Fazl stressed.
Fazl said that in the past, members of different parties “misused their votes” but the betrayal of a single party member does not weaken the stance of the Opposition.
“The betrayal of an individual party member should not be associated with the policy or narrative of the entire party, as such a practice is not appropriate,” said Fazl, adding that the Opposition is united and the PDM will probe in tomorrow’s meeting on why their votes decreased [in the Senate chairman’s election].
Replying to a question, Fazl said that “party loyalties are probably changing because there might be some sort of pressure behind it.” “There might be greed or threats involved [because of which people traded loyalties]. Someone must be behind it,” Fazl concluded.
Aitzaz Ahsan, a senior leader of PPP and a prominent lawyer, has opposed the opposition’s move to resign en masse too. “How can the PML-N alone decide this,” he questioned. Opposition parties should be aware that Nawaz Sharif’s narrative does not serve PDM’s interests, the PPP leader said.
The Nawaz-league has now confronted the third force too, he said, adding that the party which favours collective resignations should submit them. In my opinion, he said, the PPP should not go to this extent.
Responding to a question about Ahsan’s point of view with regard to en masse resignations from assemblies, the PPP Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, said that the party would soon convene its Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting and the PDM’s decision would be put before it and everyone would be allowed to express their views including Aitzaz Ahsan. “What decision the CEC takes would be the decision of the party and also of Aitzaz Ahsan,” he added.
Aitzaz had also stated that opposition’s resignations were not enough to dissolve the national and provincial assemblies, as the ruling PTI needed only 172 members in the National Assembly, adding only 84 members – required to maintain the quorum of the 342-member Lower House of the Parliament – was enough to run the house.
PPP will not resign, a dominant view?
It is important to note that in an interview with BBC, Bilawal said that taking names of military leaders was Nawaz Sharif’s personal choice. It was decided in the PDM agenda to use the ‘establishment’ word and not to take the name of any national institution, he said.
Nawaz Sharif blamed the COAS and DG ISI for ousting him through ‘controlling and dictating the courts’. It was not for the first time that Nawaz slammed the security establishment for ‘political engineering’. On September 20, he claimed that then DG ISI approached him and asked him to step-down.
However, former DG ISI, retired Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam, has said he never asked for the resignation of former premier and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in 2014. “I never sent anyone to convey any such message to [Nawaz], this is absolutely wrong,” he said while speaking to The News.
Similarly, PPP Co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari said during the PDM meeting that the coalition should be clear about its goals and should not open up new fronts.
Attending the online meeting – which was held to review the ongoing political situation in the country and to chalk out the 11-party opposition alliance’s future strategy – Zardari stressed that the PDM should stick to a clear goal, as opening up new fronts simultaneously would reap no results.
Political commentators are of the view that the PPP is unlikely to block Islamabad as the PML-N and JUI-F have reportedly plan. “PPP will soon find a graceful exit but may continue to offer its moral support to the anti-government campaign. The party is divided on some basic questions and Bilawal won’t be in a position to take any bold decision. Let’s not forget the fact the PPP did the same when Maulana came to dislodge PTI’s government in 2019,” a source told GVS.
The PTI leaders have already been claiming that the PPP will not support the PML-N’s do or die scenario in the long run. “PPP will never go for the resignations. I can give you my words,” then Federal Minister for Water and Power, Faisal Vawda, told Kashif Abbasi on ARY News.