ISLAMABAD: Heads of the component parties of the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Monday directed the steering committee of the alliance to propose a strategy for challenging the controversial bills before the Supreme Court and finalise the date for the anti-government long march to Islamabad.
The PDM leadership has directed the former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) leader Kamran Murtaza and deputy secretary general of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Attaullah Tarar to consult legal experts and complete requirements for challenging the controversial bills that the government wanted to get approved during the joint sitting of parliament.
According to an official announcement made by the PDM after the meeting, the leaders of the opposition alliance were considering challenging the bills regarding the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the elections, slashing the powers of the State Bank of Pakistan and the bills seeking amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO).
The PDM heads’ meeting was presided over by the president of the alliance Maulana Fazlur Rehman and it was also attended by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif through video link.
Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chief Aftab Sherpao, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) president Mehmood Khan Achakzai and head of his own faction of the Balochistan National Party Sardar Akhtar Mengal also attended the virtual meeting.
It was decided that the PDM’s steering committee would meet on Nov 22 to finalise its recommendations.
These would then be presented before the party heads for approval in their meeting on Nov 23.
The participants of the meeting expressed concern over reports that the state institutions were “forcing” the government’s allies to vote for the government-proposed controversial bills.
“The PDM does not approve of this kind of interference from the state institutions and considers such an act violation of the Constitution,” says the statement issued after the PDM meeting. The PDM leaders warned the state institutions to remain within their constitutional limits and “don’t test the patience of the people”.
Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2021