LAHORE: Though the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is confident Prime Minister Imran Khan will go home without its planned long march on the capital as he virtually has lost the support of his government’s allies, it (PDM) wants PML-N’s ‘crowed-puller’ Maryam Nawaz to lead the caravan from Lahore.

The government allies, especially PML-Q and MQM-P, still remain indecisive which side they have to choose in the face of no-confidence motion against the PM.

“Ms Nawaz is keen to charge the workers and lead the long march from the provincial capital but like many in the party she too believes that Imran will be sent packing without the march,” a senior PML-N leader told Dawn on Wednesday.

PML-Q Senator Kamil Ali Agha told Dawn his party leadership would decide which side – the PTI or opposition — it had to pick at an appropriate time.

To a question about the opposition’s optimism that the allies would say goodbye to PM Khan — either leaving the government after the OIC meeting or voting against the premier in the no-trust motion – Mr Agha said: “The OIC is a major event and it should be held smoothly.

However, deliberations on the opposition’s offer are underway and a final decision will be taken by the leadership likely after the OIC moot.”

He said: “At present we are part of the government and having parleys with the opposition which has offered us Punjab chief minister’s slot besides post-election seat-adjustment arrangements in return for support to its no-trust motion against the premier.”

On the other hand, the Balochistan Awami Party’s (BAP) lawmakers in the KP Assembly on Wednesday announced parting ways with the government, citing unfulfilled commitments.

BAP MPA Bilawal Afridi confirmed the development in a video sent to the media, saying in the coming days, his party would take decisions that would benefit the people of their constituencies and KP.

In a PDM meeting it has been decided that the caravan of the long march will leave for its destination from Karachi and Quetta on March 23 at 2pm and reach Multan on March 24 and head for Lahore where Ms Nawaz will lead it to Islamabad. Similarly, from the KP, rallies will leave for the capital on March 24 and all rallies from across the country will reach Islamabad on March 25.

PML-N Punjab information secretary Azma Bokhari told Dawn that the party meetings regarding the preparation of the long march were being held and Ms Nawaz would lead it from Lahore if the party leadership decided.

Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2022

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