News Desk |
In the backdrop of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari’s announcement that his party would launch a street protest against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government after Eid, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) is also gearing up for a protest against the PTI-led government after Eid.
Interestingly, the country’s two major parties — PPP and PML-N — are considering to form a formal alliance against the PTI-led government. The motive is to give PTI government tough time. Any public announcement regarding the alliance is expected to be made after Ramzan.
Senator Mushahidullah Khan recently revealed that a formal alliance was being hashed out by the senior leaders of both the parties to put up a united front against the government.
On May 16, the PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif, who is serving out a sentence in Kot Lakhpat jail after being convicted and sentenced by an accountability court in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), has directed the party officials to start preparing for a protest against the government after Eid.
Subsequently, PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal convened a meeting in Islamabad in which all senior party leaders, including members of the National Assembly and Senate, provincial presidents, vice presidents and main office-bearers, will participate.
PML-N chairman Raja Zafarul Haq, senior vice president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal will preside over the meeting. PML-N president and leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif will not make it for he is in London “for his treatment”.
This would be the first time the newly appointed vice president Maryam Nawaz will attend the party meeting on May 20 to discuss whether or not to launch a protest drive against the Imran Khan government, which is struggling to cope with the economic crisis.
PML-N, PPP Alliance in the Offing?
PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan recently revealed that a formal alliance was being hashed out by the senior leaders of both the parties to put up a united front against the government. He said that both sides were already united against the government on the opposition benches.
The motive is to give PTI government tough time. Any public announcement regarding the alliance is expected to be made after Ramzan.
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. “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,” he said.
Will PML-N Trust PPP?
The news of a 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. Sharif has been serving a seven-year prison term at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail since December 24, 2018, 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. NAB had filed several references against Sharif and his next in kin with the Supreme Court’s July 28, 2017 order in the Panama Papers case.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is a new Charter of Democracy in the Making?
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. He had regretted that a three-time former prime minister was serving jail.
NAB had 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.
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.
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 favor 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 was a part of the delegation.
Sharifs plunged country into economic crisis: Firdous Ashiq Awan
Meanwhile, PM’s Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that those who plunged the country into an economic crisis were pointing fingers at the government today.
In a tweet, Awan said, “Sharif family destroyed the country with their economic terrorism,” adding how were they speaking about going to the masses now.
شریف خاندان نے معاشی دھشتگردی سے عوام اور معیشت کو لہو لہان کیے رکھا۔معاشی تباہ کاریوں کے بعد اب یہ کس منہ سے عوام کے پاس جانے کی بات کرتے ہیں۔
— Firdous Ashiq Awan (@Dr_FirdousPTI) May 17, 2019
“Those who have been destroying the economy for the past 30 years want the masses to suffer even more,” she added.
تیس سال ملکی معیشت کا جنازہ نکالنے والے عوام کا مزید تیل نکالنا چاہتے ہیں۔
— Firdous Ashiq Awan (@Dr_FirdousPTI) May 17, 2019
Siraj-ul-Haq’s threats for Dama Dam Mast Qalandar
JI Amir Siraj ul Haq has threatened the government of staging protest rallies against inflation, unemployment and IMF agreements after Eid ul Fitr”. There will be “dama dam mast qalandar” against price hike, unemployment and IMF agreements after Eid.
We will not sit mute over growing IMF role in escalating inflation”, he said this in a statement issued here Monday. He said JI rejects government agreement with IMF. Neither government has brought the agreement in parliament nor has it made consultations with anyone.
Won’t let Escape Accountability: PM Khan to PPP, PML-N
In March, 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.
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.
“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.