PPP, PML-N will shoot down PTI’s budget


— Bilawal, Maryam say PTI does not represent true mandate of people

–Both leaders condemn ‘political victimisation’ by govt and NAB

–Reiterate support for Constitutional supremacy and democratic values

LAHORE: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Sunday decided to strongly oppose the budget presented by the government for the upcoming fiscal year.

Bilawal visited Jati Umra on the invitation of the PML-N VP in the wake of arrests of major political leaders.

Following the meeting, PML-N released a statement, revealing the major points of the conversation that took place between the two leaders.

“Both leaders agreed that the country is suffering a decline in all walks of life and has been thrust into a deep quagmire of economic ruin,” the statement read. “All economic indicators are pointing towards an extreme crisis.”

Both parties agreed that Pakistan has been mortgaged off to international financial institutions and the charge of national institutions is being handed over to strangers, which is making the situation worse.

They also decided to strongly oppose the federal budget presented by the incumbent government for the next financial year.

Both sides alleged that the government is using NAB to take revenge from political opponents, which is a source of concern for the democratic environment.

The two leaders also discussed the joint strategy of both parties and mulled over the All-Parties Conference (APC) being hosted by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

The statement also said that Bilawal and Maryam agreed the incumbent government does not represent the true mandate of the people.

Both leaders also agreed that sticking to democratic values and upholding the supremacy of the Constitution of Pakistan is of utmost significance and only these elements can ensure the prosperity of the country.

On Saturday, Maryam extended an invitation to Bilawal for a meeting at Jati Umra residence of the Sharifs to discuss the political climate of the country and to devise a joint strategy. Bilawal soon accepted the invitation. The meeting took place at a time when the fathers of both young leaders of the party are in jail.

PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif is serving a jail term in the Al-Azizia corruption case while PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari is in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the fake accounts case.

The meeting holds a special significance because it hints at strengthening of ties between the archrivals PML-N and PPP, which could be a source of concern for the incumbent government as it deals with dwindling economic conditions.

The PPP chairman was accompanied by Qamar Zaman Kaira, Chaudhry Manzoor, Hasan Murtaza and Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar while the PML-N VP was accompanied by her husband Captain (r) Safdar and senior party leaders Marriyum Aurangzeb, Ayaz Sadiq, Pervaiz Rasheed and Rana Sanaullah.

PML-N VP also clarified that the meeting was being held with the blessings of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and party supremo and her father Nawaz and senior party leaders.

“This & all other decisions in the party are taken after the approval of MNS [Mian Nawaz Sharif] & MSS [Mian Shehbaz Sharif’ & taking the senior leaders into confidence. Discipline & part hierarchy are followed by all including me,” she tweeted.

Last month, Maryam had been invited to an iftar hosted by Bilawal for opposition parties. After the event, the opposition parties held a joint press conference and announced to “launch protests inside and outside the parliament after Eidul Fitr” and hold an APC to “chalk out a joint strategy on how to tackle the problems Pakistan is facing”.

Bilawal had said at the time that Maulana Fazlur Rehman has called an APC after Eid in which a joint strategy against the government will be finalised.

The JUI-F leader corroborated the plan himself, and said that “Pakistan is emerging as a weak country in the world due to some incapable people ascending to power.”

Rehman said that “during the APC, a joint strategy for all opposition parties will be identified so as to stabilise this sinking ship”

PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had said at the time that “there is an agreement among opposition parties that the government has failed to run this county.”