PPP-NP leaders’ meeting steps up move for unity of opposition

Updated January 10, 2019

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KARACHI: National Party president Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo calls on PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at Bilawal House on Wednesday. Deputy Chairman of Senate Salim Mandviwala is also present.—INP
KARACHI: National Party president Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo calls on PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at Bilawal House on Wednesday. Deputy Chairman of Senate Salim Mandviwala is also present.—INP

KARACHI: As efforts by Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to unite the opposition parties mainly ‘outside the parliament’ have yet to pay the dividends, National Party president Senator Hasil Khan Bizenjo won the approval of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leadership to pursue the course for the same objective on Wednesday.

Sources privy to the development and a statement issued by the Bilawal House suggested that the meeting did not end with the conventional exchange of thoughts of the leaders from opposition parties, but they agreed to move on for a united stand of the parties on some key issues not inside the parliament alone.

“Former federal minister and president National Party Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo called on former president of Pakistan and president PPPP Asif Ali Zardari and Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at Bilawal House and discussed a host of issues of mutual interest. Deputy Chairman Senate Salim Mandviwala was also present,” said the statement.

When contacted, Senator Bizenjo avoided going into details of the discussion, but admitted ‘his wish’ for the alliance of the two major parties of the opposition due to severity of the political challenges. He replied in the affirmative when asked about his expected meeting with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership on the same agenda with the consent of the PPP leaders for a united stance of the opposition parties over the key issues.

Zardari, Bilawal and Mandviwala agree for a united stand on some key issues

“There are several such issues which are a source of concern for all democratic parties which believe in parliamentary rule and norms,” he said. “Among them, for instance, are the 18th Amendment and NFC award. I personally wish and want them [PPP and PML-N] to unite on such issues. Meeting with Mr Zardari was really good and I would definitely take this up with the PML-N leaders as well and hope to receive their positive response.”

The sources said that the meeting which lasted almost an hour also discussed various options the opposition parties may adopt on key issues that included the 18th Amendment, ‘feared one-party rule’ and recent charged mood of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf against the PPP’s government in Sindh.

They said the discussion focused thoughts from both sides over the possibility of the “alliance between the PPP and PML-N as key opposition parties” for meeting the approaching political challenges.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2019