ISLAMABAD: Already shattered, the opposition alliance — Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — has decided to part ways with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) and form a new alliance of five opposition parties having 27 members in the Senate.
The PDM also decided to serve notices to the PPP and the ANP for not attending the alliance meeting on Friday and violating its decision.
The decisions were taken at a meeting of senators of five opposition parties, minus the PPP and the ANP, according to a press release of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) issued by Marriyum Aurangzeb.
It is believed that the PDM decision will virtually split the movement and enhance the gulf between PPP-ANP and other opposition parties.
The PPP has already been accused of siding with the government and the ongoing tussle between the country’s two major opposition parties on the appointment of Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani as leader of the opposition in the Senate had already intensified. The PPP declared that it would not accept Shehbaz Sharif as the opposition leader in the National Assembly if Mr Gilani was not supported by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the upper house of parliament.
According to statement of Azam Nazir Tarar, the PML-N’s parliamentary leader in the Senate, five opposition parties have decided to form a new opposition alliance, as they have 27 senators in the upper house. These five parties are PML-N, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), National Party (NP) and Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal).
In the meeting, PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman has been asked to serve show-cause notice to the PPP and the ANP seeking explanation why both parties had violated the PDM decisions. At the meeting, questions were also raised why the two parties got votes of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) in the recent Senate polls and why an alliance was made with a ruling coalition partner.
Earlier in a statement on Wednesday, PPP leader Naveed Qamar had said: “If the PML-N and the JUI-F decide not to recognise the opposition leader in the Senate, then we will also be forced not to accept the opposition leader in the National Assembly.”
The PPP leader’s statement came amid reports that the PML-N and the JUI-F had decided not to recognise Mr Gilani as the opposition leader and form a new block on opposition benches in the Senate.
Mr Qamar was of the opinion that all important decisions of the joint opposition should be taken with consensus and from the PDM platform, saying if the PML-N and the JUI-F would make decisions on their own, then “there is no use of the opposition’s alliance”. He said the two parties had already damaged the PDM by linking the proposed long march with en masse resignations from assemblies.
In the meantime, senior PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi confirmed that he had discussed the proposal about formation of a new opposition bloc in the Senate with Maulana Haideri. He, however, said a final decision in this regard would be made after further consultations with other opposition parties, Mr Abbasi added.
In an apparent reference to Mr Gilani’s act of seeking support from the BAP to get the office of the opposition leader, ex-PM Abbasi said the PML-N in no way could sit on the opposition benches under the patronage of the government.
Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2021