KARACHI: The fate of opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement hangs in the balance as Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday tore apart the show-cause notice issued to it by the PDM in a clear message to the alliance that the future relied entirely on mutual respect.
The PDM already suffered a blow last week when the Awami National Party quit it over ‘its hijacking by some member parties’.
The crucial meeting of PPP’s Central Executive Committee was scheduled to conclude by the sunset, but as discussions on multiple issues prolonged the sitting at Bilawal House, there was consensus among 50 party leaders attending the meeting from across the country to continue the session till Monday (today).
A number of points on the agenda shared with the media before the CEC meeting came under discussion but the most crucial moment arrived when the leaders were asked to respond to show-cause notice issued by the PDM for its recent policies.
Sees mutual respect key to alliance’s fate
“The chairman [Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari] literally tore apart that paper [PDM notice] after listening to the points of party leaders before sharing his thoughts on the subject,” said one of the participants. “The meeting participants reacted with slogans and clapping over his action. The chairman was clear that opposition parties enjoy mutual respect and no one has the right to make any independent party accountable for its policies, ideology and strategy. It cannot be tolerated. The PDM notice doesn’t carry any legal value.”
The PPP, however, kept its doors open before making a final decision though many party leaders did not agree with most of the PDM policies and actions in recent past. The final word of the CEC is likely to emerge after the meeting concludes. Some party leaders believe that the PPP may not go outright for the ANP-like decision.
The ANP earlier had announced quitting the PDM, saying the opposition alliance had been ‘hijacked’ by some of its members for their own interests.
The ANP leaders had also criticised the issuance of a show-cause notice to their party by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader and PDM secretary general Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for helping the PPP in getting former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani elected as the leader of the opposition in Senate.
They had complained that after the PDM’s planned long march had to be deferred due to differences among the member parties on the issue of resigning from the assemblies, there was an urgent need to end the ‘disagreements and bitterness’ in the alliance. Though not that strong, the PPP has come up with the same stance.
“We want to play the role of tough opposition and that’s why we want all parties on this strategy to struggle together,” said another participant of the CEC meeting. “The results of Daska elections proved the justified and smart strategy of the PPP leadership. The parties within parliament always are stronger and more effective than those outside. The PPP has had a years-long strategy since 1985 over the parliamentary role. We are still following that,” the party leader explained.
Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2021