ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party yesterday asked Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif to return to Pakistan to challenge the government.

Speaking at a news conference here, senior PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said that Shehbaz Sharif should come back to lead the opposition in the parliament.

Farhatullah Babar, Dr Nafisa Shah, Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and Nazir Dhoki were also present at the media interaction. Kaira said that Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Vice President Maryam Nawaz should also break her silence over the political developments in the country.

The PPP was earlier in the day granted permission by the Lahore High Court to continue its preparation to observe the death anniversary of former premier Benazir Bhutto at Liaqat Bagh Rawalpindi on December 27. Kaira said the Maryam Nawaz should not stay silent over the developments in the country. “The PPP should not be the lone voice. We (the PPP) are speaking on all issues. Their (PML-N) inputs are missing,” he said.

Yesterday, the federal cabinet decided to not remove Maryam Nawaz’s name from the Exit Control List following recommendations of a sub-committee.

Urges Maryam Nawaz to break silence

Kaira said Shehbaz Sharif should also not stay abroad anymore. “He should return to lead the opposition in the parliament. The opposition needs a joint strategy,” he maintained.

He said that the PPP was observing the death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto at Liaqat Bagh the very first time and workers of the party were gathering at Liaqat Bagh on December 27 from all over the country.

The party, he said, had informed the administration on December 1 about the rally but “the administration only last night informed us that the permission to hold the rally at Liaqat Bagh on December 27 has been refused.”

The PPP, he said, approached court and informed about the situation on which court allowed the party to continue preparations for the planned rally at Liaqat Bagh.

“The administration is responsible for providing the security. The PPP believes in the constitution and law. The PPP will give strategy for the future in the rally,” he added.

He reminded that at the time when Benazir Bhutto had addressed in Liaquat Bagh, the country was going through a dire situation and once more the situation demands leadership. “Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is the only leader who can provide that leadership,” he said.

Kaira said that holding public gathering was the right of every party and PPP will exercise that right. “When Jamaat-e-Islami can hold rally just couple of days ago in Islamabad then PPP also has the right to hold public gathering,” he contended. He said the government was a threat to the country’s progress and must go without any delay.

Senator Mustfa Nawaz Khokhar, the spokesperson to Bilawal, said the National Accountability Bureau was targeting the opposition.

 “If the NAB is carrying out accountability then why only the opposition members are being arrested? This is a victimisation at its worst,” he said.

The lawmaker said NAB chairman Javed Iqbal’s statement about Bilawal was against the facts. “There is no contradiction in Bilawal’s news conference and the letter sent to NAB. There is no justification to send a notice to the party chief when he is preparing for a rally,” Khokhar said.