PML-N MNAs to resign before Senate polls: Asif

Published October 9, 2020
PML-N senior leader Khawaja Asif said the party's lawmakers were standing with the leadership during this testing time. ─ Reuters/File
PML-N senior leader Khawaja Asif said the party's lawmakers were standing with the leadership during this testing time. ─ Reuters/File

LAHORE: Opposition PML-N has spoken its mind about stopping the PTI government from holding the Senate elections in March, saying when the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) protest campaign reaches its peak, the PML-N’s 84 members will resign from the National Assembly.

PML-N senior leader Khawaja Asif said this at the party lawmakers’ meeting in Model Town on Thursday, which was also addressed by former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif via video link from London.

“When this struggle (of the PDM) reaches its peak, our 84 MNAs will resign from the National Assembly and then we will see how the Senate polls are held,” Mr Asif said. On the call of the party’s parliamentary leader (in the National Assembly) every single member of the PML-N would resign, he said. “The party lawmakers are standing with its leadership in this testing time,” he said.

Interestingly, neither Mr Asif nor any other leader talked about whether resignations from MNAs of other parties, particularly the PPP and JUI-F, would come along with those of PML-N lawmakers, as both parties are part of the PDM and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is its president.

Nawaz takes pledge from party lawmakers to stand with him during struggle

Asked whether it would be a joint strategy of the PDM or the PML-N would go solo on resignations, a senior PML-N leader told Dawn that Mr Asif spoke only about his party. “Let the time come; the opposition parties under the PDM banner will make a unanimous decision in this regard,” he said.

However, a party insider said that it would not be easy for the PML-N leadership to evolve consensus over resignations. “There is many a slip between the cup and the lip... Let this stage come and see even if the PML-N is willing to act upon its today’s proposal,” he said.

Responding immediately to the PML-N’s plan on resignations, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill said in a tweet: “Maryam Safdar Sahiba — you have given the threat of resigning from the assemblies... why you wait till March, resign and we hold elections on the vacant seats. Imran Khan will not succumb to your threats.”

Prime Minister Khan has already announced that his government will hold by-polls if the opposition resigns from the assemblies.

Most of the PML-N members of the Senate, National Assembly and provincial assemblies had gathered at the party’s provincial secretariat and pledged their support to their leadership during its struggle to give respect to the ballot and get rid of the “selected” PTI government.

Speaking on the occasion, Nawaz Sharif took a pledge from the participants to stand with him during his struggle to establish the people’s rule and supremacy of law and constitution.

He talked about ineffectiveness of the parliament. “I ask those who imposed this man (Imran Khan) on the nation to see the people’s passion. I ask you to get rid of him soon as Imran Khan is responsible for making the lives of the masses miserable,” he said, adding that “this incapable man” (PM) had destroyed the country’s economy.

“People are dying of hunger and prices of daily use items have skyrocketed. People cannot even afford two meals a day and who is responsible...it is Imran Khan and those who brought him to power through a manipulated and rigged 2018 polls,” he said.

He also questioned Imran Khan’s assets. “What are the sources of income of Imran Khan? From which sources he made his Banigala house? When his sister Aleema Khan and Asim Saleem Bajwa will give money trails?” he asked. He said that former chief justice Saqib Nisar had given Mr Khan clean chit but the people of Pakistan were asking him to provide money trail of his assets.

Mr Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz also spoke about the first PDM rally in Gujranwala on Oct 16 and asked the lawmakers to make the protest drive a success in the face of hardships.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2020

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