Opposition leaders have agreed to adopt a joint strategy within and without parliament to give the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government a tough time on crucial matters.
A meeting of leaders of opposition parties took place yesterday on the invitation of Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly, Shehbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N).
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and Naveed Qamar also attended the meeting.
Other leaders included the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam – Fazlur (JUI-F)’s Maulana Asadur Rehman and the Awami National Party (ANP)’s Amir Haider Khan Hoti.
In the meeting, the opposition leaders decided to form a committee to have their concerns represented and to challenge the government’s stance.
The political leaders also agreed to take a hard stance on financial matters and to raise the issue during House sessions.
Opposition Leader Sharif spoke to the media after the meeting, and complained that dishonourable terms such as “thief” are being used to label opposition leaders.
He said that the committee will raise important issues with the government, including that of the military courts.
Sharif also said that with inflation, unemployment and other important issues getting out of hand, no foreign investors would invest in the country.
During the media talk, a journalist asked former president Zardari if the opposition leaders have united over issues, to which he responded that they have.
His son Bilawal Bhutto seconded Zardari’s statement that the opposition leaders have agreed to form a joint committee.
Earlier, as Zardari arrived at Parliament House, he was asked to comment on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that the National Assembly walkout by the opposition was a “pressure tactic to seek a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO)”.
The PPP leader responded: “The opposition has been staging a walkout since day one, why will we seek a NRO?”
“The government is not in a position to give anything and we don’t need a NRO,” he added.
Earlier, Khursheed Shah of the PPP had said that the government may put additional burden of taxes on the common man through a new budget, which the opposition would robustly oppose.
“This is going to be the third mini budget in the fiscal year. The ongoing surge in prices has immensely affected the people, and they will not be able to survive anything more.
“The opposition will not remain silent as it is our responsibility and our duty to stop the government from taking any measure against the public.”.
To a question about the formation of National Assembly standing committees, Shah had said that there does not seem to be any deadlock on the issue.
“We have pondered over the issue in a meeting with the (National Assembly) speaker, and in the last assembly session we had resolved to immediately set up the standing committees for PAC (Public Accounts Committee) and law ministry, while discussion for other standing committees will be made in the next session,” he added.
Shah said that the speaker had declared it indispensable that the government and the opposition through consensus pass legislation in the larger interest of the public.
“We have assured him that the opposition is ready to support legislation process for resolution of issues faced by the people,” he added.
To a question pertaining to contacts between the two big opposition parties, the PPP and the PML-N of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Shah said that all opposition parties are on the same page.
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb had also confirmed that the opposition would jointly raise all issues in the upcoming National Assembly session.
According to sources, the issues to be discussed by the opposition in the lower house of parliament include threats to country’s economy due to ongoing financial crisis, the “unscrupulous” increase in prices, and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases against leaders of opposition parties.
The opposition is also set to demand that the house be taken into confidence about the recent international tours of the prime minister.
In addition, the opposition will also raise the issue of alleged discovery of new offshore properties of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khan.
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