PESHAWAR: Pakistan Peoples Party has lashed out at the federal government for not inviting the opposition leaders to the official reception hosted in honour of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and described it undemocratic on part of the rulers.

Engr Mohammad Humayun Khan, PPP provincial president, while speaking at a meeting of the party’s cabinet here on Sunday, said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had no expertise in dealing with foreign delegations and thus it had opted to keep the opposition away from the official engagements during the two-day visit of the Saudi crown prince to avoid public humiliation.

According to a statement, the meeting was also attended by provincial vice president Syed Ayub Shah, secretary information Senator Rubina Khalid, MPA Nighat Orakzai, and others.

The participants said the PPP had not requested the government to invite its leaders to the functions but the crown prince was a state guest and the government was supposed to invite leaders of the opposition parties to his reception.

The PPP leaders condemned a statement of minister for information and broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry that the opposition leaders who were facing corruption charges could not be invited to attend the reception for the Saudi crown, stating that PTI ministers facing the NAB inquiries should also be kept away from the reception.

The decisions taken by the government are live examples of its shortsightedness, incapability and intolerance to accommodate opposition even in the national-interest events, the PPP leaders said and added that by doing so the PTI leadership would create problems for itself in future.

The PPP leaders said PTI while in opposition had always condemned rival parties and leveled baseless allegations against them but had no courage to tolerate criticism when it was in power.

They also expressed annoyance over removal of late Benazir Bhutto’s picture from the logo of Benazir Income Support Programme and warned that it was totally intolerable for the PPP workers.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2019