PPP leaders have responded to PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz’s comments made against the PPP a day earlier, saying that while Maryam’s tone was regrettable, the party knows how to respond to taunting remarks.
In this regard, a joined press conference was held by PPP’s Senator Sherry Rehman, Maula Bux Chandio, and Shazia Marri on Sunday.
During the conference, Marri said that while Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari adopted a “political tone”, Maryam Nawaz’s tone in yesterday’s press conference was “regrettable”. “We were sorry to see the word ‘selected’ being used to describe the PPP,” Marri said. “However, the PPP knows how to respond to every taunting remark.”
“There are people in PML-N who understand the delicacy of the occasion. We will continue democratic traditions inside and outside the parliament,” she said. She added that the PPP has reservations against the candidate PML-N had chosen for the Leader of the Opposition post in Senate, namely, Azam Nazeer Tarar.
On the other hand, Senator Sherry Rehman said that Maryam Nawaz must “reorient her political objectives” and “stick to [the aim of] ousting the PTI-led government [instead of issuing controversial statements]”. “We do not want the PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) to dissolve, therefore, the PML-N should refrain from issuing remarks that would empower the selected government,” Rehman stressed.
Adding to the comments, Maula Bux Chandio said that the PDM is neither “anyone’s property” nor “a child’s play.” “Therefore, saying that the long march will not take place is [inappropriate],” Chandio said.
Maryam Nawaz says PPP should follow Imran Khan if it wants to be ‘selected’
Maryam Nawaz, a day earlier, 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.
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.
“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.