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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif Thursday contacted Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and exchanged views on the situations in the wake of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) lack of consensus on resignations, postponement of planned long-march and nomination of opposition leader in Senate.

The two leaders contacted over the telephone in which they have reportedly agreed to continue the anti-government campaign under the umbrella of PDM even if Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) parts its ways with the 10-party opposition alliance.

The telephonic contact comes amid differences within PDM over nomination of one person for the office of the opposition leader in the Senate, as the major opposition parties – PPP and PML-N – have nominated their separate candidates against the coveted slot in the Upper House of the Parliament. PPP has nominated Sherry Rehman and Azam Nazeer Tarar by PML-N.

It was followed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s telephonic contact with PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the issues within the PDM that surfaced after its March 16 meeting in which Zardari had asked Nawaz to stage a comeback to the country to practically participate in the anti-government movement – a blunt call, brining the opposition alliance nearly on the brink of collapse. Sources said that Zardari updated Maulana about the PPP’s convening of its CEC meeting on April 4.

During telephonic conversations between Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazl, sources said that the two leaders agreed on convening the next meeting of the PDM soon after a response from PPP is received with regard to resignations from the assemblies.

The PDM on March 16 failed to evolve consensus on the issue of resignations, as PPP sought some time to consult its central executive committee (CEC). They said that the two leaders also discussed the differences between PML-N and PPP over nomination of opposition leader in Senate.

Sources said that PPP has decided to nominate its own nominee as the leader of the opposition which PML-N described as deviation from the earlier understanding that the slot of the leader of the opposition would be given to PML-N.

PML-N sources insisted that it was a unanimous decision of the PDM which was made during its special committee meeting held at the residence of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi last week that Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri from JUI-F would be the joint candidate of the opposition for the slot of deputy chairman Senate and the PML-N would be given the position of leader of the opposition.

PPP senior leader Raja Pervez Ashraf had also attended the meeting, besides other members of the special committee and the announcement was made through a statement issued by PDM’s information secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain to the media.

A senior PML-N leader said that in light of the PDM’s decision, the PML-N nominated Azam Nazeer Tarar for the office of the opposition leader in the Senate.

A PPP leader while talking on condition of anonymity claimed that in the meeting of a PDM committee it decided that the slot of the leader of the opposition would be given to PML-N only if Yousuf Raza Gilani succeeded in the Senate chairman’s election. He said that PPP, being the largest party on opposition benches in Senate, has the right to nominate its own opposition leader.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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