ISLAMABAD - Opposition parties Monday geared up to confront the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government amid heightened political temperature in the capital.

First Pakistan People’s Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari met Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman and later Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shehbaz Sharif visited the JUI-F supremo at his residence.

The main opposition parties have agreed that an All Parties Conference – to be hosted by the JUI-F – will decide the future course of action in the coming days.

Over the weekend, Bilawal also met PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and discussed anti-government campaign. The PPP chief had travelled to Lahore on the invitation of Maryam for the meeting.

Speaking at a news conference after the meeting with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Bilawal said the opposition will not allow the government to pass the ‘anti-people’ budget. “It has been agreed that future decisions will be taken at the APC,” he said.

The PPP chief said that the people had rejected the budget allegedly dictated by the International Monetary Fund.

To a question, the PPP leader said the parliament must complete its five-year term. He said the PPP and the JUI-F had struggled together in the past and will continue cooperation.

“These two parties cooperated to give a constitution to the country. We are two separate parties with different ideologies but have worked together in the past [also],” he added.

Fazlur Rehman said the government had presented an ‘anti-state’ budget which should not be allowed to pass. “The IMF representative dictated the budget while sitting in Islamabad,” he maintained.

He said the APC will be called in the last 10 days of June and important decisions will be taken.

The JUI-F chief said the government had failed to control inflation. “We have agreed that all decisions of the APC will be implemented. We cannot allow this trend to continue. The dollar rate has crossed all limits. New records are set every day,” he contended.

Later in the day, Shehbaz Sharif held a meeting with Maulana Fazlur Rehman. The parties said the two leaders discussed “current political situation and devised future strategy.”

The PML-N said an agenda of the proposed APC, the budget 2019-20 and consultation with other opposition parties came under discussion. Key PML-N leaders also accompanied Shehbaz Sharif.

Earlier, speaking at a news conference, PPP leaders Senator Sherry Rehman, Khurshid Shah, Raja Pervez Ashraf demanded of Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar to issue production orders for Zardari.

Sherry Rehman said there was no need to seek opinion from the law ministry or any department on the production orders.

“There are clear rules and Speaker can issue the production orders. The budget session is an important session and the members should not be forced to stay away,” she said, adding Rule 90 empowered the Speaker to issue production orders.

Khurshid Shah said Prime Minister Imran Khan was not ready to accept the supremacy of the parliament.

“The Speaker is under pressure and he has even indicated he is being pressurised. This is the first time we are witnessing such a situation. Even Chaudhry Amir Hussain was not so weak. The PM is still on the container,” he remarked.

Raja Pervez Ashraf said Zardari was being detained near the parliament but being denied a chance to take part in the proceedings.

“The government is scared of the counting process during the budget session. The parliamentary traditions are being bulldozed,” he added.

Separately, PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said that the government had been totally exposed and its claim that the police has been made apolitical has proved to be false.

In a statement, Khokhar, the spokesman to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, said that Imran Khan was using police to crush political opponents and acting as a dictator.

Senator Khokhar said that he will not compromise on his political philosophy and principles despite all government’s ‘dictatorial’ acts.

Yesterday, the Islamabad High Court sought National Accountability Bureau’s reply in a petition seeking Zardari’s pre-arrest bail in the Park Lane case.

Zardari is already in NAB custody in the fake accounts and money laundering case. His arrest warrants for the Park Lane case have not been issued yet.

During the hearing, the court was asked to issue a production order for Zardari. His lawyer, Farooq H Naek, told the court that in a bail petition, it is vital for the petitioner to be present. Zardari’s physical remand expires on June 21, after which either NAB or the jail authorities will bring him to court.