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Will PTI offer NRO to the opposition?


News Analysis |

Opposition parties have finally decided to unite against the government. The opposition parties decided to form a committee to devise a joint opposition strategy on various issues, including a second extension in the tenure of military courts. It is important to mention that on Tuesday, leaders of opposition parties visited the Opposition leader in the national assembly in his chamber where the decision was taken. After a two hour long meeting, Mr. Shehbaz Sharif told media that the opposition has decided to unite and form a committee to deal with the government on various issues.

The committee, which according to Shahbaz will have representation from all opposition parties, will also be responsible for holding negotiations with the government on the issue of an extension in the tenure of military courts. “The combined opposition will adopt whatever path is in the national interest,” he added.

Observers believe that alliance of the opposition after the general elections 2018 was not as strong as it is at the moment. PPP and PML-N had conflicting interests at that moment.

Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and father Mr. Asif Ali Zardari also attended the meeting. PPP chairman accused the government of violating the fundamental human as well as democratic rights of the citizens. PPP chairman maintained that “the opposition leaders were not ready to compromise” on these two rights”.

He also tweeted and appreciated the decision of the opposition.

Earlier, 11-parties formed an ‘allaince’ and rejected the results of the general elections held on 25ht May. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the opposition alliance comprises Awami National Party (ANP), Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), National Party (NP) and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) not only rejected the results of the general elections but also participated in a protest staged in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on August 8th.

But due to the conflicting and competing interests of the parties, soon the alliance got dissolved and PPP decided to form government in Sindh and Shahbaz Sharif became opposition leader.

Read more: “No NRO for anybody,” PM Khan clarifies

Analysts argue that the anti-corruption drive initiated by Prime Minister Imran Khan and his rigid stance over the question of NRO being given to the opposition has once again united the opposition. As a matter of fact, Mr. Sharif, the opposition leader who chaired the meeting, is in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) over alleged corruption and misuse of authority and former President Asif Ali Zardari has been accused of the same allegations by a JIT formed by the apex court. Mr. Zardari is accused of fake bank accounts and money laundering which caused a great loss to the national exchequer.

In a TV talk show when an anchor asked from Shazia Mari if the opposition got united to safeguard corruption and misuse of authority? The PPP lawmaker rejected the impression and maintained that the objective behind the grand alliance was to protect the interests of the masses from a government which has no regard for the poor.

Observers believe that alliance of the opposition after the general elections 2018 was not as strong as it is at the moment. PPP and PML-N had conflicting interests at that moment. Moreover, on the matter of corruption and misuse of authority, Mr. Zardari was expecting a different treatment from the government. Unlike Nawaz Sharif, Mr. Zardari was expecting a secret deal from the PTI which would not have damaged his political image.

Political commentators opine that since Nawaz Sharif is already in jail, Mr. Shehbaz and Zardari are facing investigations, the opposition has more in common than any time before.

Contrary to his expectations, the government has rejected all such demands and decided to stay tough on the matter. Similarly, PPP was willing to form a government in Sindh whereas PML-N despite its utmost efforts remained unable to get a majority in Punjab.

Political commentators opine that since Nawaz Sharif is already in jail, Mr. Shehbaz and Zardari are facing investigations, the opposition has more in common than any time before. It is expected that the opposition along with some segments of media will be able to put pressure on the government to seek some desired results. However, the government that enjoys popular legitimacy is reluctant to accept any such pressure tactics.

Read more: Who approached PTI’s Murad Saeed for an NRO?

Furthermore, analysts also point out that since the government was not able to deal with the opposition on the matter of chairman of Public Accounts Committee of the NA, it will also face the same scenario. It is worth mentioning here that the PTI-led government initially rejected the demand of the opposition but ultimately succumbed to the pressure. But this time, PM Khan seems more confident and tough on the matter of corruption, and it is unlikely that he will offer any NRO.

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