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Thaw in PPP-PML-N relations only to remove Imran govt

LAHORE: In a new political development, PPP and PML-N on Saturday agreed to use all legal, constitutional, and political options at their disposal to dismiss the incumbent PTI-led government. “If we want to save this country from destruction, then we will have to get rid of this government,” Opposition Leader in the National Assembly and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif said.

Shahbaz Sharif was addressing a press conference alongside PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz, and other Opposition leaders. The press conference came after former president Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal attended a luncheon meeting at the residence of the Opposition Leader in the National Assembly.

LAHORE: High level meeting in Lahore on Saturday. Former president Asif Ali Zardari, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Opposition Lead Shahbaz Sharif, Maryum Nawaz Sharif, Hamza Sharif, Saad Rafique, Aurangzeb Narriaum, Rukhsana Banghash and PPP Punjab General Secretary Hassan Murtaza.

Shahbaz Sharif said that the consultative meetings will be held, first, within PML-N’s Central Executive Committee and then with PDM. Following the meetings, a joint anti-government strategy will be chalked out, he said.

“If we don’t join hands and come on the same page today, then the nation will not forgive us. We spoke in depth about the option of a no-confidence motion [against PM Imran Khan]. If we don’t join hands and come on the same page, then the nation will not forgive us. We spoke in depth about the option of a no-confidence motion [against PM Imran Khan].”

Shahbaz said the meeting’s participants also tried to form consensus over the anti-government long march and two to three recommendations were also made.

LAHORE: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly and PML-N President Shahbaz addressing a press conference alongside  PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari (left) and PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz (right) in Lahore on Saturday.

PPP has announced that he will lead a long march against the PTI government from Karachi to Islamabad on February 27. Meanwhile, the PDM has decided to hold the long march against rising inflation on March 23 (Pakistan Day).

Shahbaz blamed the government for “constantly lying to the people” and claimed that the nation had never seen such worsening situation since Pakistan’s inception.

“The PTI-led government has failed on all fronts […] today, we see nothing but destruction and devastation in front of us.”

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President, and Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly, Shehbaz Sharif received Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari at at Model Town, Lahore.

PPP and PML-N leaders said both parties were considering all legal, constitutional and parliamentary options to oust the PTI government, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan had to go.

The opposition leaders were talking outside PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif’s Model Town residence where he had invited PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to a luncheon meeting. Shehbaz said the two parties had come to an agreement that “we will need to use all constitutional, legal and political options” to oust the incumbent government and fix the woes afflicting the country.

Meanwhile, Bilawal said the only valid parliamentary, legal and democratic mechanisms to oust the government were a no-confidence motion and protests. “We have to cast out Imran if we want to save Pakistan,” he said.

LAHORE: Former President Asif Ali Zardari and Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif coming to meeting hall.

Elaborating on the details of their meeting, Shehbaz said it was discussed how and what kind of coordination could be achieved between the PPP and Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) announced long marches. He added the matter would be taken to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and the PDM and “hopefully a positive outcome will come.”

On the no-confidence motion, he said the PPP was always clear about it but the PML-N had a difference of opinion about it. However, he said that now there was consensus “to a large extent” in the PML-N and the party’s central executive committee would decide it in a meeting in a few days after which the matter would be taken to the PDM’s platform.

“We will make an announcement in a few days after consultation with all PDM parties,” he said.

Questioned on the PPP participating in the PDM’s long march, Bilawal said his party had welcomed the announcement but did not provide an answer. “The more our working relationship increases, the better impact it will have,” he said.

Shehbaz was also asked about the PDM’s formation and subsequent split to which he said that “broken hearts can reunite.”

LAHORE: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari talking to Maryam Nawaz at the residence.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz added that differences and clashes persisted between political parties but “what unites us are the expectations and difficulties of the people.”

Bilawal thanked Shehbaz for hosting the luncheon and heaped praise on the PML-N president for performing his responsibilities as the opposition leader in the National Assembly.

The two leaders also railed against the government for the current economic issues plaguing the country and took note of the recent rise in terrorism. Shehbaz criticised the government for its performance in tackling terrorism and said the National Action Plan had been “placed in a cold storage”.

The leaders also criticised the government for its handling of the Kashmir issue, with Bilawal saying the government had failed to achieve a consensus on it and Afghanistan.

High-level meeting

Bilawal and Zardari arrived earlier on Saturday at Shehbaz’s residence for the luncheon meeting. The two expressed well wishes for Nawaz’s health and also inquired about Shehbaz, who had recently tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement issued by the PPP.

Both sides discussed the political situation in the country in a meeting which was also attended by Maryam, Hamza Shehbaz, PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb, PML-N leader Saad Rafique, PPP Punjab General Secretary Hassan Murtaza and the PPP’s Rukhsana Bangash.