An important meeting of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to chalk out a future strategy is scheduled to take place today (Friday), as the Pakistan Peoples Party is against leaving parliament all to the ruling PTI while the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl are leaning towards abandoning parliament to take to the streets against the government.
The huddle, hosted by the PML-N, will be held at the Sharif family estate in Jati Umra, Lahore. According to spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, all leaders of the constituent parties will be participating in the meeting.
She claimed that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto would try to reach Lahore; however, if whether conditions did not permit him, he would attend the meeting virtually. “Other than Bilawal, Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari will also attend the conference virtually.”
The PPP leaders; however, have not confirmed the chances of Bilawal flying to Lahore.
The PPP has already announced its decision – reached during its Central Executive Committee meeting earlier this week – of fighting the PTI on all fronts, including the National Assembly, provincial assemblies and Senate. PPP announced their plan of contesting the upcoming by-elections – putting off the idea of resigning from parliament.
After the CEC meeting, Bilawal told the media that he would place the party decisions before the PDM to chalk out a future plan of action.
PPP leader Qamar Zaman Qaira said that to his knowledge, the chairman and co-chairman will be attending the meeting virtually. “The PPP delegation will include former premiers Yousaf Raza Gillani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, as well as PPP leaders Farhatullah Baber, Nayyar Bukhari” and himself, he added.
Another PPP leader, Chaudhry Manzoor, said that the party decisions were in fact their party’s suggestions, adding that in case the PDM decides anything otherwise, those decisions could again be taken up in their party’s CEC meeting for reconsideration.
The PML-N, on the other hand, is in favour of leaving parliament and not becoming a part of by-elections.
Speaking to the media in Lahore, senior PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah said that an overwhelming majority in the party think that they should not become a part of the electoral process. He said that they should not only abstain from taking part in the by-elections but also try to stop it, referring to the plan of en masse resignations. “However, this can only happen when the PDM decides,” he added.
To a question about the PPP leaving the PDM, he said that the PPP would not leave PDM, adding that the PPP has its own opinion, which it has formed in the light of its experience. “They [PPP] believe resignations should be given only when a final push is needed to oust the government.”
He said they too are not shying away from resigning as was being speculated.
(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)