LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: The nine-party opposition alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), and Pakistan Peoples Party appear to have made some headway on reaching a consensus over snap polls in case they manage to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan through a no-confidence move.
Meanwhile, after his meeting with PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman claimed that the draft of the no-trust move had been prepared and the final date for tabling it would be announced in the next couple of days.
Some senior PML-N leaders Dawn spoke to on Thursday confirmed the opposition parties had almost reached a consensus on fresh polls in the wake of a success of the no-trust move. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also hinted at agreeing to the snap polls following certain electoral reforms, they said.
Snap polls have been a major sticking point between the PML-N and PPP in the opposition’s efforts to table a no-confidence motion against PM Khan.
After meeting Zardari, Fazl says no-confidence motion draft prepared, date for tabling to be announced in couple of days
“Mr Zardari now seems willing on snap polls. Other issues like (who will be) the prime minister during the interim three to six months before the fresh elections and dissolution of provincial assemblies are still being discussed,” a PML-N leader said, adding that although Mr Zardari had asked PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif to make his brother Shehbaz the interim premier, after the PPP conceded to the PML-N’s major demand the slot might go to Peoples Party.
Senate Opposition Leader Yousuf Raza Gilani from the PPP told Dawn: “The top party leadership is in talks with other opposition parties to finalise the issue [of snap polls]. They will meet again very soon.”
A PDM insider said the Nawaz camp was very much clear about its stance and not ready to budge. “The Shehbaz group however seems flexible, pressing only to send the PTI government home,” he said.
After meeting Mr Zardari, the Maulana said PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif had also joined them over the phone, adding there was a possibility that some allies of the ruling PTI might support their move in parliament.
Bilawal wants PML-Q to be appeased further
On the other hand, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was of the view that the opposition should make a much more lucrative offer to the PML-Q to gain its support.
Talking to a news channel on Thursday, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the PML-Q would not side with the opposition for free. “Khan sahib has given the PML-Q speakership (in Punjab). We should come up with an offer for a more important office,” he said.
A PPP leader told Dawn that his party leadership had asked Nawaz Sharif to present a better package to the Chaudhrys but since the elder Sharif was pressing the PPP for snap polls, the chief minister’s seat for just three months was insignificant for the government’s ally.
Federal Water Resources Minister Moonis Elahi of PML-Q also met the prime minister at the PM House on Thursday.
“We are not interested in any offer from the opposition,” a PML-Q leader told Dawn. However, PML-N’s Sanaullah is reported to have said on Thursday: “Appointing Chaudhry Parvez Elahi as the Punjab chief minister (by the opposition) is not off the table.”
A PML-N leader claims that PTI disgruntled stalwart Jehangir Tareen is in contact with the elder Sharif in London. A good number of PTI MNAs, including those supporting Tareen, have agreed to shake hands with the Sharifs on a promise of PML-N tickets.
Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2022