ISLAMABAD - In the most recent round of 'activities’ against the PTI-led government in the Centre, Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly, Mian Shehbaz Sharif, yesterday called on JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman here.

The opposition parties, from the day one, have been labelling the PTI government as an illegitimate and selected government and seeking its removal. Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman in particular has been on the front foot since long to rope in the opposition parties against the PTI government, but every time some opposition party ditched him. He has been on record complaining about the attitude of PML-N and PPP’s top leadership that both were reluctant to go for a final push against the PTI government. The recent visit of the PML-N delegation led by Shehbaz to Maulana Fazlur Rehman was an effort to allay the complaints of the JUI-F chief in this regard.

Though Maulana Fazlur Rehman seems serious in his move against the government, yet keeping in view the attitude of the main two opposition parties and other factors, it can be said that there is still a long way to go and the chances of a successful All Parties Conference (APC) against the PTI government are bleak. Mistrust and cracks within the opposition parties in particular and the ‘power struggle’ within the Sharif family for the driving seat of the party in general are the factors among others that may hamper any opposition move against the government. The opposition parties have announced to hold an APC against the government after Ashura days.

On the other hand, smaller opposition parties including ANP, JI and JUI-F believe that the two main opposition parties - PML-N and PPP - have no regard for them and they just used them to strengthen their position at table talks. They also say that the PML-N and PPP are making attempts only to get their leadership out of the NAB corruption references and that they cannot go beyond a certain limit when it comes to any move against the government. 

Maulana Fazalur Rehman was quite unhappy with the PML-N and PPP for not taking him along whenever it comes to government-opposition working relationship at least until Shehbaz Sharif visited him yesterday. He believes that both the opposition parties every time used him only to pressurize the government but later engaged in behind-the-scene negotiations with the government to get petty favours.

Sources say this time Maulana Fazlur Rehman wants written surety from the PML-N and PPP that they would not ditch him whenever a move is planned against the government in future. It is also believed that Nawaz Sharif wants Maryam Nawaz to take Maulana Fazlur Rehman along for a joint strategy against the government, however, Shehbaz Sharif seems in no mood for any such anti-government move.

The ‘power struggle’ within the Sharif family to get control of the party is quite visible now. Nawaz and his daughter Maryam Sharif want a full-fledged campaign against the government though their hands are also tied under the alleged deal. On the other side, Shehbaz Sharif seems having a ‘soft corner’ for the PTI government. Every time he is asked for an anti-government move, he moved half-heartedly, rather ‘sabotaged’ the move. He allegedly wants favour from the government in the cases involving his immediate family members. With the cracks within Sharif family getting more visible, the PML-N has been unable to take a clear position against the government.

Both PPP and PML-N are quite clear in their stance that they wouldn’t be part of any unconstitutional move against the government. They didn’t even support the street protest. What is left behind is a no-confidence move against the prime minister. However, they would have to think a hundred times before going for any such move as the episode of no-confidence motion against Senate Chairman is a lesson to learn for the opposition. On the other hand, Maulana Fazlur Rehman wants ouster of the PTI government at every cost. The options may include street protest, no-confidence motion against the PM or anything else, which may not get support of the two main opposition parties. It looks that the meetings, joint media talks and press statements would continue and the government would complete five years in office without any difficulty.

Meanwhile, Jamiat Ulema e Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman expressed his grievances in meeting with opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif particularly on the party’s attitude during Azadi March and FATF legislation.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the meeting also informed the opposition leader of his reservations over the opposition’s support for the in the recent legislations regarding FATF.

A delegation of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) under the leadership of PML-N’s President Shehbaz Sharif called on Maulana Fazlur Rehman at his residency on Tuesday here in Islamabad.

Before the meeting of both the leaders, Irfan Siddique a senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and one of the closest aids of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also called on Maulana Fazlur Rehman and delivered a message of Nawaz Sharif.