8-member opposition committee formed to devise joint anti-govt strategy

January 17, 2019


Leaders of opposition parties meet at a luncheon hosted by Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday. — Photo: PML-N
Leaders of opposition parties meet at a luncheon hosted by Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday. — Photo: PML-N

An eight-member committee has been formed to devise a joint political strategy of all opposition parties on various issues of national importance, lawmakers said on Thursday.

Demonstrating a rare unity, opposition parties had on Tuesday agreed on the formation of the committee to finalise a joint strategy to give a tough time to the ruling coalition inside and outside the parliament. The body will also hold negotiations with the government on the issue of granting a second extension to the military courts set up in 2015 to try civilians on charges of terrorism.

It was decided today that the committee will have three members each from the two main opposition parties, the PPP and PML-N, and one member each from the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) and Awami National Party (ANP), opposition MNAs told DawnNewsTV.

The PML-N representatives in the body will be Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Tanveer Hussain and Rana Sanallah; those from the PPP will be Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Khursheed Shah and Sherry Rehman; the ANP will be represented by Ameer Haider Khan Hoti and JUI-F by Maulana Abdul Wasay.

The names of the committee members will be publicly announced on Friday, sources said. They said the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) — a partner in the ruling coalition — will be given representation in the body in case it decides to formally join the opposition. The party's representatives had attended the meeting of opposition parties earlier in the week.

The decision to form the committee was announced by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif while talking to reporters after hosting a luncheon for leaders of the opposition parties, including former president Asif Ali Zardari and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

Soon after the general elections, the opposition parties had agreed to jointly contest the elections for the offices of speaker, deputy speaker and prime minister. However, their alliance crumbled after the PPP refused to vote for Shahbaz Sharif for the office of prime minister in August last year.

The opposition parties then made another attempt to forge an alliance at the time of the presidential elections, but failed to field a joint candidate against the PTI nominee, Arif Alvi, when the PML-N and other opposition parties decided to support Maulana Fazlur Rehman, whereas the PPP fielded Aitzaz Ahsan for the top office.