ISLAMABAD: In what is being seen as a significant development in the country’s political scene, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday met Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, with both declaring that the opposition stood united in parliament.
The meeting was said to be quite important as the PPP was one of the main players in the PDM before it left the alliance. This has sent a message to the government circles that the opposition would be working together in the days to come.
The PPP had exited the PDM in April after it was served a show-cause notice by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in his capacity as the PDM’s secretary general for nominating PPP leader Yousuf Raza Gilani as the opposition leader in the Senate “in violation of the alliance’s decisions”.
Signals were now coming from the opposition that the party might return to its fold.
Replying to a question about PPP’s possible return to the PDM or extending support to a no-confidence motion against the government, both Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, in a joint press conference, said these issues had not been discussed in their meeting.
The PPP chairman expressed satisfaction over the success of the opposition in the National Assembly on Monday when it prevented the government from getting two bills passed.
He called for a joint parliamentary action on electronic voting machines (EVMs) and accountability laws.
“Joint action in the parliament on EVM and accountability laws can lead to more successes; the government’s policies can only be foiled through the parliament,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari said in the press conference.
He said the recent defeat of the government in the parliament were major achievements for the opposition, adding that the government had to shelve the joint sitting of the parliament summoned for Thursday.
“The united opposition has dealt a blow to the government in the parliament through democratic means and this has always been our stance,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari said.
“Till now, we have managed to foil the schemes of the National Accountability Bureau ordinance and EVMs as well as undermining of the Election Commission of Pakistan,” he said, adding that, “we hope that we will be able to do the same in future as well”.
The PPP chairman said he was “very happy” to be meeting Maulana Fazlur Rehman and discussed various issues with him.
Speaking on the occasion, the JUI-F chief said the opposition was playing a united role in the parliament in the wake of difficulties being faced by the nation, adding that the government had no right to carry out electoral reforms.
“Whatever their suggestions are, we are not ready to accept them at any cost. If it (government) carries out legislation through a false majority then we will liken it to a dictatorial action — this is not the way of the parliament,” he said.
The two leaders also expressed concern over the unprecedented price hike in the country.
Earlier, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari accompanied by senior leaders Yousuf Raza Gilani and Qamar Zaman Kaira inquired after the JUI-F chief’s health and discussed the country’s political situation with him.
Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2021