Bilawal offers PML-N ‘pick’ of no-trust spoils

Published February 22, 2022
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari talks to the media in Peshawar on Monday. — PPP Twitter
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari talks to the media in Peshawar on Monday. — PPP Twitter

LAHORE: While Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari met with Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Monday to discuss a strategy to topple the Imran Khan government through a no-confidence motion in parliament, the former’s son, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, offered the Sharifs the prime minister’s slot in case the opposition’s move is successful.

The PML-N was quick to respond to Bilawal’s suggestion, saying the issue was not who would be the next prime minister, as the incumbent’s ouster will become a bridge for fresh polls.

Mr Zardari had hosted a dinner for the maulana at his Islamabad residence in a “very cordial” atmosphere. However, both leaders chose not to hold a media talk after the meeting and instead issued a joint statement, which stated that the two discussed the no-trust motion as well as the current political situation.

“The time to get rid of the inept and incompetent rulers has come. The opposition this time will enter the arena after taking onboard all parties to oust Imran Khan. The selected government has lost the confidence of the masses,” the statement quoted Fazlur Rehman as saying.

Mr Zardari claimed people were looking to the opposition to send the government packing. “Even the PTI government’s allies are sick of it. Our preparations are in full swing and we are in contact with the treasury lawmakers to make our move successful,” the PPP leader made clear.

Says N can have their PM if opposition move succeeds; Shehbaz-Zardari meeting expected today

A source privy to the meeting told Dawn that both leaders exchanged notes regarding their contacts with PTI allies and lawmakers. “The opposition leaders are making sure that their homework is spot on for the much-hyped no-trust move,” he said.

Mr Zardari is also likely to meet with PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday (today) to understand the opposition’s efforts to woo ruling party allies and dissidents.

On the other hand, disgruntled PTI leader Jehangir Khan Tareen is also expected to meet the Chaudhrys of the PML-Q this week to determine what both sides have in mind regarding the opposition’s ongoing moves.

Meanwhile, Punjab minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan confirmed the Tareen-Shehbaz meeting and forewarned his party’s old ‘kingmaker’ not to trust the Sharifs in their bid to oust the premier.

In a media talk in Peshawar, Mr Bilawal offered the prime minister’s slot to the PML-N should the no-confidence motion succeed. “After the selected government is removed, the PML-N has the right to nominate its prime minister. The opposition together will bring election reforms and a fresh poll will be held,” he declared.

The PML-N did not seem interested in the offer. PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal told Dawn that after the departure of Mr Khan, his successor would not be able to come up with a “quick fix” of the economy in just a year and a half.

“The joint opposition will mutually decide who should be the PM after getting rid of Imran Khan. The functions of the new premier will be to act as a bridge towards fresh polls.”

When asked whether the opposition had met the required number in parliament to oust PM Khan, the PML-N leader said: “We will table the no-trust move when we feel confident about achieving the target beyond the required numbers. The ouster of Imran Khan is inevitable now.”

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2022

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