ISLAMABAD  - The opposition parties are set to finalise the anti-government strategy at an ‘All Parties Conference’ tomorrow (June 26).

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) Chief Fazlur Rehman Monday invited several political leaders of the opposition parties to attend the APC on June 26 here.

The cleric held telephonic talks with Pakistan People’s Party Chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz among others to invite them for the event.

The PPP and the PML-N had already left it to Maulana Fazlur Rehman to decide the date and venue for the APC. Maulana Rehman also contacted Awami National Party Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, National Party leader Hasil Bizenjo and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai.

He tried to contact Balochistan National Party-Mengal leader Akhtar Mengal, however, he could not be reached, being abroad.

“The BNP-M will attend the APC. The invitation was only a formality,” said a JUI-F leader. Bilawal, Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz also confirmed participation. He said the APC will discuss the anti-government strategy of the opposition parties.

Bilawal, Shehbaz confirm their participation

Yesterday, PPP Chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari urged the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf-led government to withdraw its anti-people budget because over 8 million more people have already fallen below poverty line during nearly one year of PTI rule.

He said ‘tin pot dictators’ have called even Fatima Jinnah a traitor but the nations rejected those dictators and threw them in the dustbin of history.

“People have sacrificed a lot for this democracy so that we all can sit in this parliament. He said that parliament is not complete until the representatives of North and South Waziristan are produced in this house otherwise the history will record that these members and their constituencies were deprived of representation in this house,” he said.

This month, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz hosted a meeting with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at her Jati Umra residence to devise a joint strategy for giving a tough time to the government.

Both leaders pondered over possibilities of resisting the government and expressed unity to oppose the passing of the budget proposed by the federal government.

This was the second formal meeting within weeks as earlier Bilawal arranged a grand Iftar party for the opposition leaders and also invited Maryam Nawaz.

The two leaders have agreed to oppose the budget till the government agrees to drop new taxes from it.  The two leaders agreed to run campaigns against the Rs7,036 billion budget 2019-2020, which was presented by the government on June 11. The total revenue collection target has been set at Rs6716.6 billion, of which Rs5,822.2 billion will be generated through the federal tax collection.

Bilawal and Maryam also agreed that they will not stage any dharnas (sit-ins) or protests. They maintained that they had no plans to topple the government. Maulana Fazlur Rehman however has different plans. He wants to send the government packing for early elections.

Asked about his possible alliance with PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz, Bilawal remarked that the country was facing far too many problems. “No one party can solve them all on its own.”

He said that Maryam Nawaz was bringing a new style of leadership to the PML-N. “We have to think about the long-term. We have to build trust. Maryam Nawaz will stand with the truth and she truly cares about the people of Punjab,” he added.

The fathers of both political leaders are currently behind bars. Nawaz Sharif is completing his sentence after being convicted by an accountability court in the Al Azizia Steel Mills reference, while former president Asif Ali Zardari has been remanded into National Accountability Bureau’s custody in a money laundering case. He was arrested from his house in Islamabad’s F-8 on June 10.

Ahead of the APC, Maulana Fazlur Rehman said there was no reason to allow the PTI-led government to complete term. “This government must be sent home,” he said.