Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Leader and Senator Musadik Malik said that it was an extreme surprise for them when PPP sought the support of the BAP lawmakers to bring Yousuf Raza Gilani as opposition leader in Senate.
“It was not an expected move for us and we were not expecting this at all. The entire party [PML-N) was unable to understand the move,” he said while stopping short of calling it a public betrayal from the PPP.
He, however, said that the matter pertaining to the opposition leader in Senate would be raised at the PDM platform, where they would seek answers from the PPP regarding it. Dr. Malik also clarified that the PDM is going nowhere.
Furthermore, he said that they know the four members who supported Yousuf Raza Gilani. “If they [BAP lawmakers] have switched from the treasury ranks then it is a good omen as the opposition now has the support of 57 Senators,” Musadik Malik said adding that they should not delay the no-confidence move in Senate now after getting more than a simple majority in the 100-member house.
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.