—Opp calls for APC, vows to launch anti-government drive after Eid
–Huddle expresses concern over ‘political victimisation’ at the hands of NAB, hike in petroleum prices
ISLAMABAD: Major opposition parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), on Sunday hinted at the revival of the Charter of Democracy (CoD), saying that “the agreement has not ended and the new generation will keep on adding to it”.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday hosted an iftar-dinner for major political parties of the country. Addressing a joint press conference with PML-N leaders, including Vice President Maryam Nawaz and former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Bilawal thanked all those who attended the gathering.
He said that the opposition has decided to join hands to find solutions to the issues the country is facing. He also announced that all opposition parties will launch a protest inside and outside the parliament after Eid.
Abbasi said that all parties have agreed that the government has failed in running the affairs of the country. He added that after Eid, an All Parties Conference (APC) would be held where a joint strategy would be formulated.
Maryam, while thanking Bilawal for the invitation, said that he had visited the Sharif family to condole Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s death.
She said that two successive civilian governments had managed to complete their terms because of the CoD signed by her father Nawaz Sharif and Bilawal’s mother Benazir Bhutto. “CoD did not end there and the new generation will continue to add to it,” she said.
She also acknowledged that PML-N and PPP had been arch rivals in the past but added that their upbringing had allowed them to become allies with full sincerity.
Bilawal further added that CoD was not against the establishment and Sunday’s gathering was not against anyone either. “Our gathering is in favour of the people of Pakistan,” he said.
Earlier, the PML-N delegation led by Maryam reached Islamabad prior to the dinner and held a meeting with former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
She was accompanied by Hamza Shehbaz, her husband Captain (r) Safdar, former information minister Pervaiz Rasheed and party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb.
Awami National Party (ANP) leaders, National Party (NP) chief Mir Hasil Bizenjo and PPP leaders, including former opposition leaders Syed Khursheed Shah and former premier Yousuf Raza Gillani, also reached the venue before Iftar.
Bilawal welcomed the opposition leaders upon their arrival and embraced and shook hands with Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza.
Jamat-e-Islami’s (JI) Liaqat Baloch, Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Chairman Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and independent MNAs Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir also attended the event.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman reached the venue after the dinner as he was unable to make it in time.
During the meeting, opposition leaders expressed concerns over the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) being allegedly used for ‘political victimisation’ of the opposition leaders.
It is worth mentioning here that NAB is currently pursuing the fake accounts case against PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. Sharifs are also at the receiving end of NAB: elder Sharif is in jail, while younger is out of the country on bail.
They also said that the government has caved into the demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and expressing concerns over potential increase prices of petroleum products in the coming months as per the deal with the Find.
The opposition leaders also decided to join hands to give a tough time to the government inside and outside the parliament after Eid instead of leading separate movements.
On Saturday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb confirmed that a party delegation led by Maryam Nawaz would reach Bilawal House in the federal capital for the iftar.
The PPP chairman is trying to bring all opposition parties on a single page over the economic condition and the public protest movement against the government.
A day earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan also slammed the opposition meeting, stating that corruption political mafia is trying to blackmail the government through the economy. “There should be no surprise over meeting between Bilawal and Maryam,” the prime minister said, adding that people of Pakistan will not support corrupt factions.
PML-N MOOT TODAY:
Meanwhile, The PML-N will hold a meeting on May 20 to discuss its future course of action. It was expected to be held at the opposition leader’s chamber but now the sources said it could take place at the residence of party leader Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.
The JUI-F chief has already announced that his party would march on Islamabad and shut down the federal capital in protest against the government’s policies.