Pakistan’s opposition leaders attend an all-party conference in Islamabad on Wednesday. Associated Press
Top leaders of all major and minor opposition parties deliberated upon anti-government strategy and took different decisions in a Multiparty Conference (MPC) on Wednesday.
Representatives of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Jamiate Ulemae Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Awami National Party (ANP) and others attended the MPC convened by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Rehman proposed resignations from the assemblies by the opposition lawmakers. He further suggested to observe a black day on July 25.
The PPP and the PML-N have constituted special teams to attend the MPC with a view to ensuring the presence of their MPs in the National Assembly during the voting process on the budget.
The Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), a government ally, which had been attending opposition meetings despite sitting on the treasury benches, decided against showing up in the MPC. In a written message sent to Rehman, BNP-M chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal asked the opposition to consider his party’s recommendations.
The Jamaat-i-Islami, which is sitting on the opposition benches in the parliament, distanced itself from the MPC a few days back.
In the meantime, Mengal led a delegation of his party to a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Prior to the MPC, the parliamentary parties of the opposition held a separate meeting inside the National Assembly to formulate their strategy for the budget session.
Earlier, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz met her uncle, the party president and leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, at the Ministers’ Enclave to discuss matters related to the opposition moot.
Prominent among those who attended the MPC being chaired by Rehman included Shahbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ayaz Sadiq, Raja Zafarul Haq; Yousuf Raza Gilani, Sherry Rehman, Raza Rabbani, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Farhatullah Babar; Asfandyar Wali Khan, Mian Iftikhar, Ameer Haider Khan Hoti; National Party President Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo; Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai; and Qaumi Watan Party chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, among others.
The decision to hold the MPC had been made by the leaders of 11 opposition parties during a well-attended Iftar dinner hosted by PPP Chairman Bilawal in Islamabad last month.
Senior leaders belonging to PPP and PML-N have strongly reacted to an accountability court’s verdict in the Nandipur Power Project reference, acquitting Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) stalwart Babar Awan and refusing the same plea of PPP’s former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.
PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said that announcing two different verdicts against a single case raises questions over impartiality of the court. “Exoneration of Awan while continuing Ashraf’s trial make it a controversial verdict.”
He claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan had saved Awan in the case, adding that the latter was being tried in the reference until he parted ways with PPP and joined the ruling party.
“Now we know why National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman [Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal] had maintained that the government would topple if corruption cases of PTI leaders were opened,” he said.
The PPP stalwart leader that the recent video scandal against the NAB chairman must be investigated properly to ascertain whether he was being blackmailed.
Members of treasury benches were being freed in corruption cases while leaders belonging to opposition parties subject to trial, he said, adding that it had become a tradition that forged corruption cases were withdrawn against anyone who leaves PPP for the Imran Khan-led party.
“Does withdrawal of fake corruption cases amount to price paid for leaving PPP? Why only Awan was given bail if corruption is reported in Nandipur reference?”
PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal also came down hard on the PTI government, alleging it of influencing the ongoing accountability process.
“This is the type of accountability and justice taking place in our country. Awan accused by a commission constituted by the Supreme Court of causing Rs113 billion loss to Pakistan is given clean chit because the premier’s man,” he wrote on Twitter. Iqbal also urged the Supreme Court to take notice of verdict
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that although he had “nothing to gain from politics,” he had persevered in his political struggle for 23 years to fulfil his responsibility towards the Pakistani people.
The National Assembly (NA) on Monday unanimously passed the 26th Constitutional Amendment Bill to increase the number of seats for the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) in the national and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assemblies.
Dozens of Afghan political leaders attended a peace conference in Pakistan on Saturday to pave the way for further Afghan-to-Afghan dialogue. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi opened the conference
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