PPP, PML-N announce multi-party conference after Eid 'to get rid of this govt'

Published July 20, 2020
Qamar Zaman Kaira and Ahsan Iqbal, senior leaders of PPP and PML-N respectively, address the media after a meeting with PPP chief. — DawnNewsTV
Qamar Zaman Kaira and Ahsan Iqbal, senior leaders of PPP and PML-N respectively, address the media after a meeting with PPP chief. — DawnNewsTV

Opposition parties have agreed upon calling an 'All Parties Conference' (APC) after Eidul Azha in order to discuss strategies to "get rid of this government", PPP and PML-N leaders announced on Monday.

During a press conference, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Ahsan Iqbal, senior leaders of the PPP and PML-N, respectively, said that a joint opposition coordination committee meeting will be held this week and after consulting all parties, an APC will be held after Eid.

Kaira and Iqbal were speaking to journalists after a meeting between PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and a three-member PML-N delegation at Bilawal House, Lahore. The PML-N delegation included Iqbal, Khawaja Saad Rafique and Ayaz Sadiq, while PPP's Kaira, Chaudhry Manzoor and Hasan Murtaza also attended the meeting.

Kaira, while speaking to the media, said that opposition parties will "complete our homework" before Eidul Azha and discuss strategies to oust the government in the APC.

"The opposition feels that Pakistan will face several external and internal dangers [if] this government remains in power," Iqbal said. "[Considering] what is happening in our region, we need internal unity but this government only has a vengeful agenda with which it is disintegrating the country.

"In this situation, the country's two biggest opposition parties agree that to get rid of this incompetent government will be representative of this country's 220 million people."

Ahsan also criticised the government for trying to introduce a law that he said was "twice as bad" as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law in order to put an end to terror financing and comply with the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) guidelines. The law, he said, would allow authorities to arrest a suspect for 90 days without getting a remand and the detention can be extended without allowing the suspect to obtain a bail.

"FATF members are not telling Pakistan to turn the country into a fascist state through legislation [to stop terror financing]," the PML-N MNA said and added that the move was "defaming FATF, the international community and the United Nations". He said that while the opposition was in favour of compliance with FATF guidelines, it would not allow the government to curb individual rights and freedom.

He accused the government of making people's lives difficult by pushing them into poverty, throttling the media and isolating the country in the international community.

In response to a question regarding Maryam Nawaz's participation in the upcoming meetings, Iqbal said that "no one has played as huge a role in public mobilisation than" former premier Nawaz Sharif's daughter. He added that she will play her role when it came to public mobilisation.

'Govt obliging its cronies'

Also on Monday, PML-N lawmaker Khawaja Asif lambasted the government's privatisation policy regarding national institutions while speaking in the Nationaal Assembly.

He accused the government of having deliberately "ruined" the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) after publicly raising the issue of 'dubious' pilot licences.

The government made the plan of leasing out the PIA-owned Roosevelt Hotel at a time when 73 hotels in New York had closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Asif alleged.

"We are justified in suspecting that there is a method in this madness. Something smells fishy; somebody is being obliged," he said, advising the government to pursue the privatisation process with the right approach.

Asif alleged that the government was obliging its "cronies" and "ATMs" by doling out state assets to them.

Referring to government functionaries, he questioned how cabinet members could be allowed to hold dual nationalities when members of the parliament were barred from the same.

He said the federal cabinet is an offshoot and an "integral part" of the parliament, and asked how dual nationals could sit in the former. "Is it only because they are the favourites of somebody? Because they are somebody's ATMs? This cannot happen. We will resist these moves on every front," he added.

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