Opposition Leaders to Tender Resignations by 31st December

The opposition parties under the umbrella of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Tuesday decided to resign en bloc from the assemblies.

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PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, when pressed by the reporters to express her views, said, “We agree to what Maulana Fazlur Rehman said.”

Addressing a news conference here after a meeting of the party heads, JUI-F leader and PDM chief Fazlur Rehman said the opposition leadership had decided unanimously that their Members of National and Provincial Assemblies wound hand over resignations to their party heads by December 31.

“We will not disappoint the masses who have been participating in our protests with enthusiasm,” said the PDM president flanked by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, PML-N Vice Chairman Maryam Nawaz and other leaders.

The PDM meeting also decided to go ahead with its plan to hold what they said a decisive public meeting at the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore on December 13.

Top leaders of all parties of the PDM participated in the meeting which lasted for over four hours. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and President Asif Ali Zardari also spoke through video link. Nawaz Sharif stressed tendering resignations from assemblies and Asif Zardari agreed to his proposal.

Fazlur Rehman told a questioner that once the opposition members resign from assemblies, they would not take back their resignation.

“Our members will not take back their resignations like the PTI did in the past,” he said. The PDM president said the steering committee of the movement would meet on Wednesday (today) to decide about the schedule of a “long march” on Islamabad besides deciding about shutdown and wheel-jam strikes.

He said the committee would also chalk out a plan to hold rallies and meetings at the divisional level. PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal heads the PDM steering committee.

“The legs of the rulers’ chair are already shaken and they just need a push to go,” Fazlur Rehman said. He said the opposition would neither hold negotiations with the rulers nor the PTI would get an NRO.

“The fake prime minister, who seems to be intoxicated today, was speaking in a tone as if he is making an offer of talks to the opposition parties,” he said. He said the PDM leadership had also decided to go ahead with its December 13 public meeting at Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore.

“They will face the same bitter reaction as they experienced in Multan, if any hurdles are created to the public meeting,” he warned the Punjab government, adding the event would be decisive and prove to be last nail for the government.

Asked whether the PDM leaders were afraid of a crackdown on them, he said they had not even thought of it. Asked to comment on “selectors,” he said whether the selectors stood with the government or not, the movement was against the system and rigging.” Those who rigged elections should think about their fate,” he said.

Contrary to the opposition leaders’ consensus, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) still has reservations about submitting resignations from the assemblies and wants a proper resistance and game plan in place before going ahead with this tough option.

According to sources, the PPP has decided to take up the issue in a meeting of its Central Executive Committee for the final decision.

Though Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stood close to the PDM chief Fazlur Rehman during a press conference on Tuesday in which he announced submission of resignations by December 31, the PPP communicated its reservations about exercising this option.

The party is of opinion that resignations should be the last option and first all the options of resistance should be explored.

During the PDM meeting, according to sources, when the PPP leadership asked about the future game plan in case the resignations were not accepted, it got no answer.

During the meeting, a senior PPP leader asked what will happen if the government did not accept the resignations and kept them pending or accepted resignations in phases for holding by-election. The PPP believes that a clear strategy should be devised rather than taking a hasty decision.

PPP sources said the example of PTI resignations from the National Assembly was in front of everyone when their resignations were not accepted and Speaker National Assembly held them until the PTI ended its sit-in and all of its members returned to the assembly.

According to sources, after the PPP reservation, it was decided that resignations be submitted to the party leaders and a decision on when to exercise that option would be taken later on.

Accepting the PPP’s proposal, it was decided to convene a meeting of the PDM steering committee to formulate a plan for resistance movement and the long march to Islamabad.

Sources in the PPP said there was an understanding between former president Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif that the decision of dissolving the Sindh government will be used as the last option.

Zardari believes that the Sindh government will prove as a backbone of resistance movement against the government. Sources said it was proposed by the PPP that first MNAs will submit their resignations followed by the members of Punjab Assembly, Balochistan Assembly and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and if the resignations were accepted, then the Sindh Assembly members will also submit their resignations.

It was decided that the PPP and PML-N will hold a meeting on Wednesday (today) before the steering committee meeting to formulate the future game plan.

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