Cracks seem to be further deepening among the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) as two major constituent parties of the opposition alliance – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) have taken a stiff stance against the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Yousuf Raza Gilani and decided not to accept him as leader of the opposition in the Senate.
In a tit-for-tat, the PPP has also come head-on against the PML-N and JUI-F, saying it would not accept Shehbaz Sharif as leader of opposition in the National Assembly if the latter refused to recognize their party stalwart as opposition leader in the upper house.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the government and PPP are in contact for political adjustment in the next Azad Kashmir elections.
Insiders say apparently the PPP would continue to play politics and criticize the government but a political adjustment would be seen in the Azad Kashmir elections.
Sources further said that the PPP would be able to obtain the chairmanship of parliament’s Public Accounts Committee in the coming days against which the incumbent regime would extend its support to the party and seek a concession.
In the latest development, PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and JUI-F’s Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri on Wednesday held a meeting in the federal capital where both discussed the post-Senate election situation.
According to sources, both the leaders expressed that all the constituent parties of the PDM were disappointed over the PPP’s stance of seeking help from the government-allied Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) for the election of Gilani as opposition leader in the Senate.
Haideri said the PPP had let down all the opposition parties by using the votes of BAP for Gilani’s election and that a PDM meeting would be called to decide the future course of action on the matter.
On the other hand, PPP’s Qamar responded to Abbasi and Haideri saying that his party would be forced to take a similar position as of PML-N and JUI-F by not accepting Shehbaz as opposition leader in the National Assembly.
He opined that all important decisions of the opposition should be taken with full consensus from the PDM platform and observed that the unanimity of the opposition alliance was futile if the PML-N and JUI-F planned to decide matters on their own.
Qamar noted that the PML-N and JUI-F had already “dented” the PDM by taking a U-turn on the issue of resignation from assemblies and the long march.
He said PPP wanted the decisions to be taken with complete unanimity from the PDM forum.
On the other hand, PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar on Wednesday lamented that his party had used the votes of BAP to get Gilani elected as opposition leader in the Senate and maintained that the move had “harmed” the party.
“We should not have taken the votes from BAP. Seeking votes from the government members, in my view, damaged the party’s [PPP] ideological stance,” he said in a statement.
Khokhar went on to say that the PDM parties had a "weak" stance on the issue of en masse resignations from the assemblies and that they should not have laid “unnecessary emphasis” on the move.
He acknowledged that the PPP’s narrative that it deserved to be given the position of the opposition leader in the Senate was “feeble”.
Earlier, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz had also censured the PPP for seeking support from the BAP.
“It is sad that you have massively dented the struggle for democracy, the struggle for the rule of the people for a petty office. But I believe it’ll be much more damaging for you,” she said while speaking briefly to the media outside the Lahore High Court on Saturday.
Gilani was notified as opposition leader after some smaller opposition parties including the Awami National Party, Jamaat-e-Islami and BAP threw their weight behind him.
“You were so desperate for this petty office that you accepted votes from BAP,” Maryam said.
BAP is considered to be a brainchild of the security establishment which the PDM blames for the current political morass.
“I don’t think this is the defeat of PDM, including the PML-N. In my assessment it is the defeat of those who compromised on their principles for a petty office,” she said, again referring to the PPP.
Khokhar noted that the decisions recently taken by the PDM “did not leave a good impact on the inflation-hit people”.
He said that the "in-fighting" within PDM strengthened the position of the "highly unpopular government".
“If we want to regain our lost status in other provinces we will have to focus on people’s politics instead of power politics.”
He expressed the hope that his party’s central executive committee would deliberate on the ongoing issues and formulate a plan of action.
“The right to dissent is a democratic right and I expect that my statement will be seen in the same context," he concluded.
Sources said that central leaders of the PPP in Punjab also will be seen criticizing the party’s policy in the coming days.
(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)