PESHAWAR: The Awami National Party (ANP) on Tuesday parted ways with the Pakistan Democratic Movement — an alliance of opposition parties — following the issuance of a show-cause notice to it by PDM general secretary and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz senior vice president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Speaking at a press conference at Bacha Khan Markaz, ANP Central Senior Vice President Ameer Haider Khan Hoti said that there was no room for his party to remain part of the PDM after receiving the show-cause notice.

Flanked by senior party leaders Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Senator Haji Hidayatullah, Zahid Khan, Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Shahi Syed, Samar Haroon Bilour and others, Mr Hoti said the decision was taken in a special meeting of the ANP’s senior leaders, including presidents of all provincial chapters of the party, held in Peshawar.

Sharing details of differences in PDM, Mr Hoti said ANP senators had not only supported the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as leader of the opposition in Senate election openly but also had provided reasons for its support.

Hoti says show-cause notice based on mala fide intentions

The PDM was not a political party that could issue notices to its members, he said, adding that the show-cause notice was meant to damage ANP’s political status.

He recalled that the alliance was formed by the opposition parties in September 2020 as a result of a multiparty conference that passed a joint declaration to run a campaign and pave the way for removal of the ‘selected’ government. He elaborated that political parties issued show-cause notices under their constitutions, but the PDM had no constitution that authorised it to take action against its component parties.

The ANP leader said the show-cause notice was based on mala fide intentions, as the PML-N should also have faced such action over its understanding with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and PML-Q to get its candidates elected as senators unopposed in Punjab. However, no action had been taken against the PML-N, he added.

“Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as general secretary of PDM was duty bound to convene meeting of the alliance and seek explanation. We have already explained our support to Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. He said some political parties were attempting to use PDM’s platform for their personal agendas but ANP would not help anyone do so.”

He said the PML-N also damaged the PDM agenda by fielding its candidate on a general seat in the Senate election in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and thus benefited the government. While referring to the JUI-F-PTI alliance in Larkana during the by-election, the ANP leader said that if those two parties could sit together in Sindh, then everything was possible in politics.

He said PML-N leader Abbasi needed to avoid issuing notices in the absence of ailing PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. He should have avoided the move till Maulana’s recovery, but he took the step in haste and left the opposition alliance meaningless, Mr Hoti claimed.

Even in party politics, the only authority to issue notices to other office-bearers was only the party chief, he said.

While rejecting the PDM’s show-cause notice, Mr Hoti told the presser that all of his party leaders who served the PDM including himself, Mian Iftikhar and Zahid Khan would no longer be part of the opposition alliance.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2021

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