Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto said that the opposition is united to send the incumbent PTI-government packing home.
“We have welcomed the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM’s) long march. And Shehbaz Sharif, the PML-N have welcomed our long march,” said Bilawal while talking to journalists after attending a lunch hosted by Shehbaz in his and former president Asif Ali Zardari’s honour at his residence in Model Town.
The meeting between the key leaders of the opposition continued for over an hour where the long marches of both the PPP and PDM were discussed in detail. According to insiders, the meeting took place on the directions of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif who asked his younger brother Shehbaz to invite the PPP leadership at his residence to craft a joint strategy to oust the government.
“There is an effort to combine both the marches of PPP and PDM to give tough time to the government and today’s meeting was held to discuss all the strategies in this regard,” the sources added.
Sources revealed that Zardari tried to convince Shehbaz over the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan while giving the PML-N assurance that a large number of disgruntled leaders of PTI were in contact with the PPP and they would support the no-confidence motion. The PML-N president gained some time to discuss the issue within his party and later with the PDM.
Talking to journalists, Bilawal said that unity was quite important for their movement against the ruling PTI, pointing out that it was their first official interaction after their meeting on budget and when they jointly opposed it in the National Assembly.
“The impact will be as much as their working relationship will be,” he further said.
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz, the political secretary to the former president Rukhsana Bangash, PPP parliamentary leader in Punjab Assembly Hasan Murtaza, PML-N stalwarts Khawaja Saad Rafiq and Maryam Aurangzeb were also present at the lunch.
Bilawal said that both PML-N and PPP shared their plans to dislodge the PTI government in their meeting.
“We sat together once again for a big cause even after past differences. We are ready to take every step to remove the PTI government,” said Bilawal.
He thanked Shehbaz, Maryam, Hamza, and Rafiq for providing them another chance to sit together.
Bilawal said the PML-N was going to consult on their suggestions very soon while lashing out at the PTI government for making the lives of the people hell through historic poverty, inflation and unemployment.
Talking about the Kashmir issue, Bilawal said that the government failed to form consensus on the Kashmir cause.
Bilawal also expressed his concerns over the increasing incidents of terror in the country, especially Balochistan saying that the government’s incapacity to deal with terrorism was very apparent.
He furthered that it was natural that the government would be threatened by unity in the opposition parties. He appreciated Shehbaz’s efforts to keep the opposition’s unity intact in the National Assembly. He said that the government could be dislodged by bringing a no-confidence motion. The PPP was clear on the no-confidence and the PML-N was also trying to reach a consensus on the issue, he said.
“We are hopeful that Shehbaz Sharif and other leaders of the PML-N are working to reach a consensus. We have to save the country and we have to get rid of Imran Khan and his government,” he added.
Shehbaz meanwhile said that all legal, constitutional and parliamentary options would be exercised to oust the government that had miserably failed to solve the issues of the masses. The PML-N president said that it was discussed in detail how to coordinate between PDM and PPP long marches.
“It will be discussed within the PML-N and later it will be taken into the PDM and hopefully a positive outcome will come,” Shehbaz said.
Talking about the no-confidence motion, the opposition leader said that the PPP was very much clear on it but there were different views within the PML-N. We’ll try to chalk out a consensus in the PML-N central executive committee that would soon be called by Nawaz and later it would be taken into the PDM meeting.
When asked regarding the parting of ways between the PDM and PPP, Shehbaz said that broken hearts could be reunited again.
Maryam was of the view that difference of opinion existed within the political parties but the issues and problems of the masses kept them united.
The opposition leaders also criticized the government for failing to provide relief to the people while adding that it would be in the interest of the country to get rid of the incompetent rulers.
It would be pertinent to mention here that the passage of the bill related to the State Bank of Pakistan in the Senate recently was really a setback for the opposition. The meeting between Sharifs and Zardaris was planned to dispel the impression that there is any rift between the parties of the opposition.