PPP’s Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, in a surprise move, voiced his opposition to the party approaching the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) to seek its votes to secure Yousaf Raza Gillani’s candidature as the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
The PPP senator said that he believes the move to approach a government ally “harmed the PPP’s ideological foundations”.
The PPP leader went on to say that the recent decisions taken by the Pakistan Democratic Movement alliance of the Opposition “did not leave a good impression on the inflation-weary public”. He said that the “in-fighting” within PDM strengthened the position of the “highly unpopular government”.
Khokhar further said that the PDM parties are “weak” in their narrative regarding mass resignations from assemblies and should not have laid “unnecessary emphasis” on such a move, whereas the PPP is “weak” in its stance regarding the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate position.
He said that if the party is looking to regain its voter base from other provinces, it will have to focus on “politics for the people” rather than “power politics”.
The PPP Senator expressed the hope that in the upcoming meeting of the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), there will be priority given to reviewing these observations and formulating a plan of action.
“The right to a difference in opinion is a democratic right,” Khokhar said, adding: “I hope my views will be taken keeping in mind the same.”
The PDM, whose singular aim is to oust the incumbent government, had planned a long march on March 26, but it was put off with the PPP asking for some time to consult the CEC.
Gillani, speaking on the matter, said that the long march was “bracketed with the resignations” from assemblies over which PPP has simply sought some time to consult the Central Executive Committee, as the committee had originally expressed reservations against the move.
Gillani said the PPP had said to PDM: “If you want us to hand in resignations, give us some time. We will go back to the CEC, take their approval and get back to you.”
The meeting is expected to take place in the first week of April.
PPP secures Senate Opposition leader position without PDM’s blessing
Last Friday, the PPP — seemingly unable to arrive at an amicable resolution to a dispute with other PDM parties over who should get the Senate opposition leader’s seat — had rounded 30 senators and gone ahead to secure the position for its candidate, Yousaf Raza Gillani, without the PDM’s blessing.
The numbers comprised 21 senators from the PPP itself, 2 senators from the Awami National Party, 1 senator of the Jamaat-i-Islami, 2 independents from FATA and a group of 4 ‘independents’ led by Senator Dilawar Khan that had broken away from the Balochistan Awami Party to support Gillani’s candidature.
This drew the ire of the PML-N, with the party vice president, Maryam Nawaz, lashing out publicly at PPP for “sacrificing everything” for a “minor, inconsequential office”.
“On one side there are those who are sacrificing their own wellbeing for the public and its right to rule, and are not willing to show any weakness — on the other side are those who have sacrificed all their principles for the smallest of gains; who are willing to forego the law and the Constitution.”
“I am glad that this line has been drawn and that everyone recognises who is standing where,” she said.
Abbasi, Haideri not to accept Gillani as Senate’s Leader of Opposition
Today, in a further fracturing of the opposition alliance, PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and JUI-F’s Abdul Ghafoor Haideri declared they will not accept Gillani as the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
The decision came during a meeting to discuss the situation following Gillani’s notification.
Abbasi — the PDM secretary-general — had called on Haideri, his counterpart in the JUI-F, and inquired about the health of the latter’s party chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Both agreed that all Opposition parties in the PDM were disappointed with the PPP’s attitude.
The senior PML-N leader said a consultation on the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate would soon be held with other parties in the PDM.