Opposition leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah on Wednesday warned the government of a “conspiracy” being hatched against it by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and other smaller political outfits in the name of protests to be held on May 11 against alleged poll rigging in general elections held last year.
Sources privy to details of a meeting held between Shah and Defence Minister Khwaja Asif told Pakistan Today that Shah shared with Asif his party’s concerns about the demonstrations being planned by some opposition parties, stating that his party “smells a rat” in these protests at a time when relations between the military establishment and the ruling PML-N are “all time low”.
Shah earlier had also publicly expressed his concerns about a “possibility of a conspiracy” allegedly being hatched to take down the democratic government.
“During the meeting, Shah told Asif that there may be some hidden forces backing these protests aiming at derailing the democratic process. Assuring his party’s unconditional support to the government, Shah urged the defence minister that the government must take cognizance of the matter and a probe should be launched to determine who was behind this sudden and shocking decision to hold protest demonstrations,” sources said.
The sources added that Shah also shared with Asif experiences of his party’s past government and urged the government to use professionals working under the civilian command to unearth any such conspiracy against the democratic government. He called upon the government not to retreat against its subordinate institutions and rather exert the civilian authority, failing which the military will keep securing more turf in decision-making process, sources added.
“Shah also advised the defence minister to exert the elected government’s constitutional powers otherwise the establishment would gain an upper hand in decision-making process and the minister would be left to a ceremonial head of the department.”
“During the discussion, Shah also informed the defence minister about the feeling of his party’s leadership of being left in isolation by the PML-N government’s policies about power shutdowns in Sindh.”
Shah said the parliament was the supreme institution of the country and the opposition could not support any move which would undermine the dignity of the parliament and its elected representatives. He said that the sacrifices made by politicians for the sake of democracy would not be wasted, adding that they were not obligated to follow anyone’s undemocratic desires.
Later, talking to media, the opposition leader said that he had discussed power outages across Sindh with Asif. Shah said that according to the defence minister, Sindh had liabilities towards WAPDA and added that assurances were given that the problem would be resolved through contact with the Sindh government.