Information Minister Shibli Faraz on Monday said that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance was "making its way back to the Parliament after being rejected from the masses", while referring to differences between the PML-N and PPP over ways to oust the government.
"One PDM and multiple narratives," remarked Faraz in a tweet. "Bilawal's insistence on no-confidence [motion], Ahsan Iqbal's doubts about it and Maryam's persistent calls for a long march is clear proof of PDM falling apart."
"[They] had set out on roads to mislead the public [and] are making their way back to the Parliament after being rejected from the masses," he concluded.
The federal minister's tweet comes two days after PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal demanded PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to "show numbers" to back up his suggestion of a no-confidence motion against the incumbent government. Bilawal had last week hinted at the possibility of ousting the PTI government through a no-confidence motion and said all member parties of the PDM will be convinced to use this option and reach consensus on the issue.
The next day, Iqbal conducted a press conference where he said: "We think if Bilawal Bhutto sahab has the numbers to bring a no-confidence motion then he should certainly show them.
"We saw [previously] in the Senate where we had the [majority] numbers but [despite that] the no-confidence motion was not successful so there is only one path we should follow, and that is to pursue a decisive long march against this government."
The PML-N leader was referring to the opposition's failure in passing a no-confidence motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in July 2019 when several members of opposition parties had ditched the party leadership by either voting against their own resolution or deliberately wasting their votes.
As many as 64 members of the opposition had risen in their seats to approve the motion seeking permission to move the no-trust motion against Sanjrani.
However, when it came to secret balloting, only 50 of the opposition senators had voted in favour of the resolution, causing serious distrust between the PPP and PML-N with leaders of both parties suspecting each other of foul play.
In his press conference on Saturday, Iqbal said that the PML-N was also not in favour of in-house change proposed by another party in the PDM.
“In-house change can be a proposal of any other opposition party, but we are not in favour of it as it is not a viable option. For this, horse-trading will have to be done and we are not in favour of it. In the Senate chairman (Sanjrani) election, we witnessed how 64 votes of the opposition were reduced to 52. This game will have to be played again for in-house change,” he said.
He further emphasised that a long march was the PDM's only option to oust the government, adding that the PPP chairman's suggestion of a no-confidence motion was an old one.
A PML-N insider had told Dawn that his party was reluctant to favour the no-confidence move as long as the establishment was fully backing Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“In fact the PDM’s struggle is all about pressurising the institutions, especially the establishment, to stop backing the PTI. Once the establishment hints at distancing itself from the PTI government, it will be very easy for the opposition to get rid of PM Khan within days,” he said.
The PDM is a 10-party alliance formed last year by opposition parties in a bid to overthrow the government. The alliance has held multiple power shows in major cities, including a protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan where it alleged that the ruling PTI had received funds from India and Israel.
The government, meanwhile, is making efforts to reconcile with the opposition and lower down political temperatures in the country. A crucial government-opposition meeting is set to take place in Parliament House today, with National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser accompanying the government team.
Due to the opposition’s refusal to go to the speaker’s chamber, sources said the meeting would now be held at the president’s chamber in the Parliament House.
The three-member government delegation had met the opposition leaders on Friday as well, seeking better relations at least in the Parliament.