ISLAMABAD - Vowing to continue their fight inside and outside Parliament, the joint opposition at a multi-party conference on Thursday unanimously decided to sit on opposition benches while fielding joint candidates for the slots of prime minister, speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly.
While rejecting the July 25 elections, the joint opposition alliance formed a 16-member ‘action committee’, which will meet today (Friday), to finalise names for the three key slots - besides evolving a strategy for taking forward their protest.
The three-hour-long huddle, held at the residence of NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, decided to confront the upcoming federal government in the parliament by playing a role of the ‘joint opposition’.
The like-minded parties reached a consensus to nominate the candidate for the prime minister slot from the PML-N, the NA speaker from the PPPP and the deputy speaker from the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) against the nominees of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its allied parties.
Besides PPP, PML-N and MMA, the meeting was attended by leaders from ANP (Awami National Party), PkMAP (Pakhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party), QWP (Qaumi Wattan Party) and NP (National Party).
Prominent leaders at the moot included Shehbaz Sharif, Saad Rafique, Mushahid Hussain, Khwaja Asif, Senator Chaudhry Tanvir, Raja Zafarul Haq, Yousaf Raza Gilani, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Sherry Rehman, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Farhatullah Babar, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, Akram Durrani, Liaqat Baloch, Asfandyar Wali Khan, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour and Aftab Sherpao.
Opposition leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman said the multi-party conference has unanimously rejected the results of the general election. “We have decided to reject these fake elections and counter this puppet government in the Parliament,” she said while talking to the media after attending the meeting.
She said that it was decided to register a strong protest inside and outside the Parliament against “these fake results”. “A 16-member action committee has been formed to devise a joint protest strategy against the rigged elections as we reject both the elections and the results announced by the ECP,” Miss Rehman said.
About the ECP’s result transmission system (RTS), the PPP senator said the organisation concerned (Nadra) has also admitted that there was no fault in RTS system. “The Nadra has admitted that the RTS system was not defective,” she said, mentioning that every party has the right to contest elections but the election process must be free, fair and transparent.
PML-N central leader Ahsan Iqbal said that all major political parties were united against the rigged elections. “For the first time in Pakistan’s history, all major political forces are on the same page to reject the poll results,” said Iqbal, mentioning that they would fully participate in the elections of the prime minister, the speaker and the deputy speaker.
“We will unanimously fight against irregularities of the July polls and trounce the upcoming puppet government,” said the PML-N leader. “The action committee will devise a joint strategy in this regard,” he said.
Liaqat Baloch, who was representing the MMA, said that the conference has rejected the ‘rigged election’ results. “We all will go to Parliament to fight against the rigged polls and save the Constitution of the country,” said Baloch.
ANP leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that they were stepping forward with the aim to win in the Parliament. “We will form the government with our majority candidates,” he said confidently.
After the meeting, it was announced that a draft had been prepared by a 16-member committee, outlining the decisions that had been taken by the parties in consensus.
Earlier, JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman had floated the idea not to take the oath in the Parliament but his idea was rejected by the like-minded parties.
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, after the initial meeting of the multi-party conference, told the media that it was unanimously decided to become part of the Parliament.
“We (grand opposition) will give a lesson to the PTI how a genuine opposition works. A chance had been given to the PTI to do opposition but cursed the Parliament,” she said mentioning that their mandate had been stolen.
Sources said that the major political parties could not reach a consensus on the names of unanimous candidates for the key slots and referred the matter to the newly formed 16-member ‘action committee’.
The sources said that the name of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif was being considered as a candidate for prime minister slot and PPP’s Khursheed Shah for the National Assembly speaker slot. The names of Khwaja Asif and Shehbaz Sharif can also be floated for the opposition leader slot in the National Assembly.
The sources said that the grand opposition also deliberated upon fielding consensus candidates in bye-elections as around 10 seats would be vacated.
The PTI wishes that Imran Khan take oath as PM before August 14. The maiden session of the 15th National Assembly may not be summoned before August 11 due to different reasons. These include the recounting of votes in around 30 constituencies, the final scrutiny of reserved seats, scrutiny of expenditure by candidates during election campaign etc.
Grand opp to field joint candidate for PM slot