LAHORE: The reluctance of PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif to attend the proposed post-Eid multi-party conference (MPC) has not been received well by the host, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), whose leaders say it always tricks its allies and is a hurdle in the alliance of the opposition.
Led by former Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, these leaders have urged Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to take caution while dealing with the N-League and do politics independently instead of entering into alliance in Punjab, it has been learnt.
A PML-N delegation consisting of Ahsan Iqbal, Ayaz Sadiq and Khwaja Saad Rafiq had called on Mr Bhutto a day ago to discuss political cooperation and the MPC the PPP was delaying for the last couple of weeks for want of Mr Sharif’s availability.
They told the host that for health reasons the party president would be unable to attend the MPC planned for holding immediately after Eidul Azha. Mr Sharif was in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19. He recovered and tested negative for the virus earlier in the month.
Shahbaz’s reluctance to attend MPC ‘doesn’t go down well’ with host
The ‘excuse’ prompted Mr Bhutto to comment that the event would be of no use in the absence of the PML-N president, who is also opposition leader in the National Assembly.
The PPP chairman convened a meeting of senior party leadership belonging to Punjab here on Tuesday to discuss the situation.
Aitzaz Ahsan and other ‘hawks’ expressed their reservations about the PML-N role [in the past and the present] saying it is ‘habitual of using others’ for its interests, one of the participants tells Dawn.
The source quoted Aitzaz Ahsan as recalling that the N-League had ‘deceived’ Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto despite her sincerity, and never let any chance go for defaming the PPP leadership.
Mr Ahsan was further quoted as suggesting that the party should do [independently] ideological politics in Punjab rather than forging alliances.
Punjab Assembly members of the PPP were also not happy with the ‘treatment’ they were being meted out by the PML-N, saying the latter [usually] won’t take them into confidence while making any decision in the provincial house.
Mr Bhutto was, however, cited as urging the participants to take a pragmatic view of the situation and they should try to take along all opposition stakeholders in the drive against the ‘selected’ government.
Those who were in attendance included Qamar Zaman Kaira, Aslam Gill, Chaudhry Manzoor, Barrister Amir Hassan, Altaf Hussain Qureshi, Azizur Rehman Chan, Samina Gharki, Zohaib Butt, Hassan Murtaza, Asim Mahmood Bhatti, Musa Khokhar, Inayat Shah, Imran Athwal, Allama Yusuf Awan, Dr Khayyam Hafeez, Dr Khalid Javed Jan, Israrul Haq Butt, Shazia Abid and others.
The party chairman said with the joint efforts of the opposition parties, this ‘incompetent’, ‘fascist’ and ‘corrupt’ government could be stopped from taking anti-masses steps.
These ‘incompetent’ rulers want to seize the autonomy and resources of the provinces as the 18th Amendment and the NFC Award are being made controversial, he said, and exhorted the PPP leaders to play a pro-active role in Punjab.
He tasked them to go door to door and inform the people about the ‘incompetence’ of the PTI government.
No PML-N leader, including central spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, was available for comments.
Meanwhile, the PPP chairman has expressed grave concern over the news of ‘kidnapping’ of senior journalist Matiullah Jan in Islamabad. He demanded that the ‘selected’ government must ensure immediate safe return of Matiullah Jan. “The kidnapping of Matiullah Jan is an attack not only on media freedom and democracy but on all of us.”
Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2020