LAHORE - Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have agreed to act in unison in the National Assembly and show up as strong opposition along with other allies to give a tough time to the PTI government, besides protesting against alleged rigging in the house.
The opposition parties are already staging protests, against what they call ‘manoeuvring of results in the last election and stealth of their mandate’, outside the parliament, and now they would also raise their voice as the first session of the new assembly starts in a couple of days.
PPP senior leaders Syed Khursheed Shan and former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani held a long meeting with PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif at Model Town residence of the former CM yesterday. National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq and former ministers Khwaja Muhammad Asif and Khwaja Saad Rafiq also attended the meeting from PML-N side.
Both parties shared views on what strategy the joint opposition should adopt on occasion of the elections for speaker and deputy speaker’s slots and their overall role as opposition in the National Assembly.
The leaders of both mainstream parties, which altogether have secured 107 NA general seats in the last election, also agreed to join hands in the Punjab Assembly and do the utmost for the victory of their candidates in the contests for the top positions in Punjab. Sources say the PPP pledged support of six Punjab MPAs to the PML-N candidates on the PA contests.
The grand opposition alliance of seven parties on nomenclature of Pakistan Alliance for Free and Fair Election has already doled out candidature in the upcoming contest for the office prime minister to the PML-N, NA speaker to the PPP and the deputy speaker to the MMA.
The PML-N has named the party president Shehbaz Sharif as candidate for the premiership while the PPP has named to field Syed Khursheed in the contest for NA speaker slot.
Later, informally talking to the media on the PPP-PML-N parley, the N-leader Rana Tanvir Hussain said both the parties have reached consensus on working out a shared line of action in the National Assembly for the oncoming election as well as to play the role of a vibrant and strong opposition.
They have decided to take along all parties on the opposition on every matter, besides taking decisions regarding forming of groups to ensure presence of the opposition members on the election days and afterwards, he added.
Tanvir said the PPP and the PML-N are not willing to give up efforts for the formation of government in Punjab. To a question he said the numbers of MPAs-elect are before everybody. Yet he optimistically said everything will be clear when the assembly starts its session and elections for the top offices in the PA take place.
The PML-N leader expressed ignorance when asked if party Quaid Nawaz Sharif has asked them to shun efforts for making their government in Punjab.
Some PML-N sources say that PPP and PML-N are mulling the course that could be more powerful and quick to highlight the issue of election rigging.
The loser of last month’s general elections, Maulana Fazlur Rahman of JUI-F, whose party is a component of MMA and also part of the opposition of alliance, had suggested to skip oath-taking and keeping out of the parliament to press their demands regarding the alleged rigging.
But other parties, especially the major players, did not agree with his suggestion and decided to play their role in the parliament while continuing their protest side by side.
PML-N sources say a section in the party still want to go along the path suggested by Fazl to get quick results. But Saturday’s meeting of PML-N and PPP cleared the dust on this score as the leaders of both the key parties agreed that they should play as a strong opposition both inside and outside of the parliament.