LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party seem to be reluctant to join the next possible move of Maulana Fazlur Rehman who is currently leading a sit-in in Islamabad as both have entrusted their respective central bodies to come up with a ‘well-thought out’ decision.
Elders of the PML-N are meeting at Model Town residence of party president Shahbaz Sharif here on Monday (today) to discuss the national political scene and the multiparty conference Maulana Fazl’s JUI-F is going to hold on the sit-in issue, while PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari stated in Bahawalpur that only the CEC will take a decision on it.
Those being invited to the Model Town consultation included members of the PML-N’s core parliamentary group in the National Assembly as well as some constituents of the central executive committee. The participants will also be conveyed instructions given by their supreme leader Nawaz Sharif.
“Party president Shahbaz Sharif has been meeting the core group almost on a daily basis since development of the present political scenario. One of the meetings was held even today (Sunday). But, the difference in Monday’s sitting is that some members of the CEC will also be part of it,” a senior party official told Dawn.
The party was unlikely to give a go ahead for joining the sit-in, the official said, arguing it would further advance the ‘bad’ precedent set by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to try ousting an elected government through street power.
“What they (PTI) did to our government calls for a tit-for-tat response. But we don’t want to cement a bad precedent particularly when we as the government in-waiting see ourselves the only option for the people due to failure of the PTI in resolving the problems being faced by the country and the masses.”
PML-N secretary-general Ahsan Iqbal says they haven’t yet taken any decision on the sit-in and insists that the Rehbar Committee of the opposition parties formed for taking joint decisions on the Azadi march is intact and they are united on their demands from the PTI government.
The PPP chairman told the media in Bahawalpur that his party whole-heartedly supported all the demands of Azadi march from the very first day but still it was not part of the sit-in.
He said his party owned and supported all demands of the march but a decision on joining the sit-in was conditional with the approval of the PPP’s CEC.
Defending the JUI-F chief’s statement regarding arrest of the prime minister, he said Maulana Fazl had not announced dragging or catching the prime minister and that the Maulana had just given a political statement.
He added that what Maulana had said after noting the presence of hundreds of thousands of people at the sit-in that “the crowd could oust the selected and inefficient prime minister”.
He said that the government lacked public mandate and instead was selected and it proved an utter failure on every front. He alleged that the ‘fascist’ rulers had always been threatening the opposition and as such now the government should not object to the Maulana’s statement.
Majeed Gill also contributed to this report from Bahawalpur
Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2019