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PDM to expel PPP and ANP from Opposition alliance?

Maryam Nawaz had lashed out publicly at the PPP for “sacrificing everything” for a “minor, inconsequential office”. Is the PDM going to expel the PPP from the alliance?

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Eight opposition parties part of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Friday have decided to issue a show-cause notice to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP). According to sources having knowledge of a PDM meeting that did not include PPP and ANP leaders, the eight-party meeting headed by PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi decided to issue both the parties over their role in the nomination process of opposition leader in Senate.

“The final decision regarding issuing the show-cause notice is linked to an approval from Fazlur Rehman,” they said adding that they would be given a chance to explain their position and would then be expelled from the opposition alliance.

Besides the notice, the parties also decided to form a separate opposition bloc in the upper house comprising of 27 Senators. “This bloc will be headed by PML-N Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar,” the sources said.

The PDM meeting also agreed to summon a meeting of the PDM heads ahead of Eid ul Fitr. “the meeting could be summoned as soon as Fazlur Rehman gets well,” they said.

It is pertinent to mention here that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari summoned a meeting of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of PPP on April 5 to hold a consultation on decision pertaining to tendering resignations from assemblies, which become a major source of disagreement with the PDM parties.

The CEC meeting will be held at 2:00 pm at Bilawal House Karachi.

The meeting will be specially attended by former president Asif Ali Zardari. The CEC will mull over PDM’s decision over resignations from assemblies. The PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has directed all PPP parliamentarians to attend the meeting in person or through a video link.

Maryam Nawaz says PPP should follow Imran Khan if it wants to be ‘selected’

Recently, Maryam Nawaz had lashed out publicly at the PPP for “sacrificing everything” for a “minor, inconsequential office”.

Her remarks followed the PPP’s move to round up 30 senators and go ahead to secure Leader of the Opposition in the Senate position for its candidate, Yousaf Raza Gillani, without the PDM’s blessing.

The numbers comprised 21 senators from the PPP itself, 2 senators from the Awami National Party, 1 senator of the Jamaat-i-Islami, 2 independents from FATA and a group of 4 ‘independents’ led by Senator Dilawar Khan that had broken away from the Balochistan Awami Party to support Gillani’s candidature.

When asked what her party’s strategy would now be; what holds for the future of the PDM; and if the events of a day earlier marked the PPP’s departure from the PDM, Maryam Nawaz desisted from giving a definitive answer but made her displeasure known.

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate Yousuf Raza Gilani was appointed as Opposition Leader in Senate earlier in the day after he along with the PPP leaders Rubina Khalid and Sherry Rehman had filed the application along with the signatures of a majority of the house members.

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The Pakistan People’s Party claimed to gain the support of four independent senators, namely Senator, Ahmed Khan, Senator Kehda Babar, Senator Naseebullah Bazai and Senator Dilawar Khan.

On the other hand, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had also claimed to have the support of 26 members for its candidate Azam Nazir Tarar was also backed by the PDM.

Can PPP and PML-N stay together?

Although the PDM was created with an apparent purpose to topple Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government, yet the main opposition parties i.e. PPP and PML-N now seem to victims of internal fights as a result of ruthless power politics.

The ruling party has persistently argued that this alliance of the opposition parties is “unnatural” and cannot sustain. PM’s Special Assistant Usman Dar said in a talk-show that the alliance is without any ideology and has no potential to threaten the government. “You will soon witness their internal fights,” he said.

Notably, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday mocked PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and said that “there is a family in Lahore who used to get selected in the past”. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari gave this statement while talking to the media after meeting with Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq in Lahore.

Similarly, sources and media reports said Zardari during the meeting asked Nawaz to return to Pakistan before the joint opposition could go with the nuclear option of resigning from the assemblies in order to mount pressure on the PTI-led government.

The crucial session of the PDM was held amid divisions within the alliance over the issue of submitting resignations from the assemblies at a time when its planned long march was just two weeks away.

Zardari, who like Nawaz addressed the meeting virtually, reportedly told the PML-N chief: “Mian sahab, we will hand over the resignations to you when you return home.”

Nawaz has been living in London since November 2019 after he was allowed to leave the country for medical treatment.

Zardari further said if Nawaz wanted the opposition parties to resign en masse, “then not only us, but everyone will have to go to jail”.

Talking about this month’s hotly contested Senate elections, Zardari said the opposition parties had challenged the government in the polls but regretted that PML-N Senator-elect Ishaq Dar, who is living in the UK in self-exile, had not participated in the voting, according to reports.

Read more: Why is Maryam Nawaz silent? Severe mental stress over plight of Sharif Family

“Nawaz Sharif sahib, return to the country along with Ishaq Dar; we will fight together,” the PPP leader was quoted as saying during the meeting.