LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) has expressed its inability to vote for the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement’s candidate, Yousuf Raza Gilani, in the upcoming election for Senate chairman.
The PML-Q could not go against their coalition partner, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), said the federal Minister for Housing Tariq Bashir Cheema whose party had also remained an ally of the Pakistan Peoples Party when the latter had been in power during 2008-13.
It emerged during a meeting of PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and Pervez Elahi with PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari who also separately met PML-Nawaz (PML-N) Punjab president Hamza Shehbaz here on Sunday in an apparent move to open a new front against the ruling PTI.
In both meetings, possible options for replacing the Buzdar government in Punjab and cooperation in the March 12 election for Senate chairman were discussed, as the PDM is trying to win over the PTI allies for weakening the ruling party’s base both in Punjab and at the Centre, according to sources privy to the development.
PPP chairman meets Chaudhrys, Hamza as opposition weighs options to weaken PTI at Centre, Punjab
They said the PPP chairman attempted to convince the PML-N leadership for an in-house change in Punjab even if the slot of the provincial chief executive is to be offered to any coalition partner of the incumbent government.
Mr Shehbaz, it was claimed, agreed to discuss the option in the PDM summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad on Monday (today).
The PPP chairman claimed to have visited the Chaudhrys to seek vote for the PDM candidate for Senate chairmanship, but he also tested PML-Q’s willingness to play a role in the replacement of the Punjab government, the sources said.
Former prime minister and Senator-elect Yousuf Raza Gilani and Qamar Zaman Kaira, besides other party leaders, accompanied the chairman during both the meetings.
Earlier at a joint media talk along with Mr Shehbaz in Model Town, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the vote of confidence exposed the ‘internal fears’ of the prime minister. He said it also showed the President of Pakistan believed Mr Khan had lost majority in the National Assembly after the Senate election.
He said the PDM had proved its victory not only in Senate elections but also in the by-polls across the country, providing evidence that both the parliament and the masses were with the opposition.
The PPP chairman demanded a probe into the count of people present in the House at the time of a vote of confidence, as one of the opposition MNAs in attendance asserted that the number of parliamentarians during the process was less than what the NA speaker declared.
He told a questioner about the option of going for no-confidence motions against the PTI governments both in the Centre and in Punjab. But, he added, they had learnt a lot from the Senate election and the PDM would decide when and in which House to table a no-confidence motion against the ruling party.
He said they would do politics both on road and in parliament as the elected houses could not be left open to the ruling party.
The PPP chairman said they neither had guns nor support of the undemocratic forces but the backing of the public and parliament to counter the ‘puppet’ government.
Replying to a question about the proposed long march of the PDM and other steps against the PTI government, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the opposition alliance leadership would announce decisions and strategies in this regard.
Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2021