‘Imran has to go’: PPP, PML-N considering ‘legal’ options to oust govt

Published February 5, 2022
PPP and PML-N leaders at a meeting hosted by PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif at his Model Town residence in Lahore. — PPP Twitter
PPP and PML-N leaders at a meeting hosted by PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif at his Model Town residence in Lahore. — PPP Twitter
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif (R) and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari (L) speak to the media outside the former's residence in Lahore. — DawnNewsTV
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif (R) and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari (L) speak to the media outside the former's residence in Lahore. — DawnNewsTV

PPP and PML-N leaders on Saturday said both parties were considering all legal, constitutional and parliamentary options to oust the PTI government, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan had to go.

The opposition leaders were talking outside PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif's Model Town residence where he had invited PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to a luncheon meeting. Shehbaz said the two parties had come to an agreement that "we will need to use all constitutional, legal and political options" to oust the incumbent government and fix the woes afflicting the country.

Meanwhile, Bilawal said the only valid parliamentary, legal and democratic mechanisms to oust the government were a no-confidence motion and protests. "We have to cast out Imran if we want to save Pakistan," he said.

Elaborating on the details of their meeting, Shehbaz said it was discussed how and what kind of coordination could be achieved between the PPP and Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) announced long marches. He added the matter would be taken to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and the PDM and "hopefully a positive outcome will come."

On the no-confidence motion, he said the PPP was always clear about it but the PML-N had a difference of opinion about it. However, he said that now there was consensus "to a large extent" in the PML-N and the party's central executive committee would decide it in a meeting in a few days after which the matter would be taken to the PDM's platform.

"We will make an announcement in a few days after consultation with all PDM parties," he said.

Questioned on the PPP participating in the PDM's long march, Bilawal said his party had welcomed the announcement but did not provide an answer.

"The more our working relationship increases, the better impact it will have," he said.

Shehbaz was also asked about the PDM's formation and subsequent split to which he said that "broken hearts can reunite.”

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz added that differences and clashes persisted between political parties but "what unites us are the expectations and difficulties of the people."

Bilawal thanked Shehbaz for hosting the luncheon and heaped praise on the PML-N president for performing his responsibilities as the opposition leader in the National Assembly.

The two leaders also railed against the government for the current economic issues plaguing the country and took note of the recent rise in terrorism. Shehbaz criticised the government for its performance in tackling terrorism and said the National Action Plan had been "placed in a cold storage".

The leaders also criticised the government for its handling of the Kashmir issue, with Bilawal saying the government had failed to achieve a consensus on it and Afghanistan.

High-level meeting

Bilawal and Zardari arrived earlier on Saturday at Shehbaz's residence for the luncheon meeting. The two expressed well wishes for Nawaz's health and also inquired about Shehbaz, who had recently tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement issued by the PPP.

Both sides discussed the political situation in the country in a meeting which was also attended by Maryam, Hamza Shehbaz, PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb, PML-N leader Saad Rafique, PPP Punjab General Secretary Hassan Murtaza and the PPP's Rukhsana Bangash.

According to an earlier report by Dawn, Shehbaz had contacted Bilawal on Friday and invited him for today's luncheon meeting. PML-N officials had said that the meeting was being arranged on Nawaz's directive who, they claim, had been contacted multiple times by the PPP.

They had claimed that in-house change, both in the National and in Punjab Assembly, would be on top of the meeting's agenda.

PML-N leaders said the PPP wished to start the no-confidence or in-house change process from Punjab while they were desirous of seeing change in the federal setup as well.

On January 18 while talking to reporters outside Parliament House, Bilawal had applauded the opposition's Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) for considering the option of tabling a no-confidence motion against the government and said that there was a high probability of opposition parties working together in the future.

“If they (PDM) are ready to withdraw their stance on the issue of en mass resignations and consider my proposal of bringing a no-confidence motion, then certainly there is a possibility that we can work together,” the PPP chairman had said.

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