Bilawal has refrained party members from discussing assembly resignations: Gilani

Former prime minister and senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Yousuf Raza Gilani said party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has refrained the PPP members from publically discussing the issue of assembly resignations.

The Pakistan Democratic Movement, an 11-party alliance of opposition parties, had announced that all parliamentarians belonging to its constituent parties would submit their resignations from the national and provincial assemblies to their respective party chiefs by December 31.

Addressing the media after appearing before an accountability court, the former premier said that Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and leaders of the opposition have bluntly stated that decisions by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) will be implemented.

Responding to a question about reservations within the party on the issue of resignations, Gilani responded: “When decisions are made, they are for the entire party. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto asked party leaders to stop discussing the issue of resignations on television channels.”

He added that Bilawal has asked PPP leaders to wait till the meeting of the Central Executive Committee (CEC).

As of now, several Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders and JUI leaders have submitted their resignations. However, PPP has remained mum about the situation.

The PDM said yesterday that the next Senate elections would be considered “fake” if they were conducted through the existing national and provincial assemblies.

The steering committee of the alliance has also decided that the joint opposition would stage its anti-government long march on Islamabad in the last week of January.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in response, said the government will hold by-elections on the vacated seats in case the opposition resigned from the assemblies en masse.

Elections on half of the 104-seat House are scheduled to be held on March 3 next year, as 52 senators will retire next month upon completion of their six-year term in the Senate.

With at least six of its new lawmakers expected to get elected to the upper house of parliament, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is likely to become the third-largest political party in terms of its strength in the Senate.

(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)