ISLAMABAD: Leaders of opposition in parliament agreed on Friday to work jointly to mount pressure on the PPP-led government to hold early general election because it has failed on all fronts and lost moral ground to be in power.
During a meeting with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, the leaders discussed various proposals to force the government to accept their demand for early polls.
The meeting which lasted over three and a half hours was attended by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, former amir of Jamaat-i-Islami Qazi Hussain Ahmad and its parliamentary leader in the Senate Prof Khurshid Ahmad, chief of his own faction of PPP Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai, senior vice-president of the National Party Mir Hasil Bezinjo, Ameer Gohar Ayub of the PML (Likeminded), Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith Amir Prof Sajid Mir and nationalist leader Shah Muhammad Shah.
Nawaz Sharif was assisted by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Raja Zafarul Haq, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Pir Sabir Shah.
Sources told Dawn that the opposition parties stressed the importance of error-free computerised electoral rolls and urged the Election Commission to complete the process by the deadline set by the Supreme Court.
According to the sources, the meeting discussed three options — a no-trust motion against the government, long march or street agitation and en bloc resignations from parliament. But some of the leaders opposed the idea of tabling a no-trust motion against the prime minister because there was little chance of its success.
“When we know it will fail, what is the use of moving a no-trust motion,” a source quoted Aftab Sherpao as saying. He pointed out that coalition partners were behind the government while the opposition did not have a majority. “It will be an exercise in futility.”
But some other leaders said it would put moral pressure on the government and serve the purpose of discrediting it.
Qazi Hussain said opposition parties could achieve their objective only when they acted together, rising above their interests.
Talking to reporters, the former JI amir said the meeting had stressed that there should be an environment of cooperation and such meetings should continue. The sources said the parties might agree to form an opposition alliance.
According to them, another meeting will be held some time next week when the parties may come up with a joint statement and take some concrete decisions.
PML-N’s deputy general secretary Ahsan Iqbal told reporters that the parties had agreed on some points on which they would move forward. He said the meeting maintained that a confrontation among institutions was not in national interest.
They stressed the need for strengthening the democratic system and decided to oppose any extra-constitutional step to oust the government.
The leaders said fresh elections were the only option to take the country out of the present crisis. They expressed concern over non-implementation of Supreme Court verdicts and blamed the government for the current situation.
They were of the opinion that transparent elections were not possible without an independent Election Commission and a voters’ list free of bogus and fake entries.
They also said that elections should be held by an impartial caretaker set-up acceptable to all political parties and people.