ISLAMABAD          -      Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s advice to the major opposition parties including PML-N and PPP to come into an aggressive mode within and outside the parliament to face the ruling PTI has brought both the leading parties in a grim situation.   

Last week, the religio-political Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) brought the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in an embarrassing situation in the Senate. This happened when JUI-F, which is relatively a smaller party sitting on the opposition benches in the parliament, was the first one to lead a protest walkout from the house over the alleged maltreatment meted out to PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz outside NAB office in Lahore. On this occasion, JUI-F leader Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri jeered at the PML-N senators for only reading some couplets to condemn the “police action” against their party leader advising both PPP and PML-N to shift to the aggressive politics, within and outside the parliament, to face the challenges posed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).  

Separately, JUI-F has also said that much-talked about opposition’s all parties conference (APC) would remain on the backburner until their reservations are addressed as PPP and PML-N have supported the government, out of the way, to get pass the FATF-related bills without even consulting it. 

For now, it is very clear that both the parties have failed to give a tough time to the government, which is having a very thin majority, in the parliament. For many independent political observers, the attitude of both PPP and PML-N during the last two years is very strange when it comes to their parliamentary politics. Both the opposition parties helped government for smooth sailing of bills in the parliament at a time when their leadership is facing corruption investigations by anti-corruption watchdog. And they have done the same in the past as well. 

Despite playing the role of friendly opposition over government-sponsored legislation, they have not got any relief from corruption investigations being dubbed here as “political victimization.” PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former PM Nawaz Sharif, has created some political heat during her appearance before National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after a break of many months. The scenes of violence and bad law and order outside NAB office have given a hope to the party supporters that PML-N has the ability to launch a protest movement. 

But for critics, Ms Nawaz only generates some waves when it comes to resolving the personal matters of Sharif family, be it investigations of NAB or sending any of the family members outside the country. So, any strategy from the PML-N to start an aggressive politics is not visible yet. 

Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari can usually be seen sending some warning shots to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party in his news conferences but his party is also compromised because its top leadership is either facing corruption investigations or court trials in such cases. Perhaps, both the parties are carrying the policy of remaining silent and showing restrain till some options are opened up from them.  

The future of the opposition’s APC is still uncertain. JUI-F wants from both the parties to leave reconciliatory politics and come into an offensive mode to save themselves from the corruption probes and to keep their vote bank intact. This is still unclear whether PPP and PML-N will hear to the advice of JUI-F?