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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) seems visibly divided as the party's vice president Maryam Nawaz on Tuesday opposed the 'reconciliatory' approach of the PML-N president, Shehbaz Sharif, to bring the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) back to the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

Talking to the media here, Maryam backed Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's stance who earlier in the day announced that he would quit as the PDM's secretary-general, if the PPP rejoins the opposition alliance without responding to the show-cause notice served on it and the ANP for nominating Yousuf Raza Gilani as leader of opposition in the Senate, calling it as a 'betrayal.'

"I've not heard his [Abbasi's] media talk but he had articulated the stance of PML-N and the PDM... We have still not received a response to the show-cause notice issued to PPP. When that is received, we will sit down and see what has to be done so Abbasi has said the right thing," Maryam said in response to a question.

The stance by two senior PML-N leaders - Maryam Nawaz and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi - comes a day earlier party president Shehbaz Sharif hosted parliamentary leaders of all the opposition parties for a dinner in which he had urged the PPP and the ANP to rejoin the PDM.

Maryam said it was not a PDM event, adding that the dinner hosted by Shehbaz Sharif was in his capacity as opposition leader in the National Assembly to chalk out strategy for the forthcoming budget session.

"It [dinner] had nothing to do with the PDM," she said, adding that the PDM's stance is still intact.

"There is no change in PDM's position [with regards to the PPP]... Don't mix the two things," she further stated in response to a question.

She also denied the claim that a new alliance was being formed within the PDM. "The PDM had decided that a meeting would be held after Eid to decide the future strategy. This meeting will be held soon, and the alliance will sit down and decide what to do. I am not aware of the new alliance you are talking about," she said.

When asked as to why she did not attend Shehbaz's dinner, she added that since, he had invited the opposition's parliamentarians and she was not a parliamentarian.

"When he [Shehbaz] is present, it is not necessary for me to be present everywhere. Don't make this an issue," she said.

Asked whether the PPP had stabbed the PDM in the back, the PML-N vice president stated: "Did you just find it out today?"

To another query, she claimed that the PML-N does not need support of anyone as it already has more than enough members to bring change in the Punjab and send the provincial government packing.

Lashing out at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, she said the government is manipulating growth statistics, while people have been devastated and are cursing the government.

She said every segment of the society has been affected by the rising inflation.

Earlier in the day, Shehbaz Sharif met with JUI-F president and PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at the latter's residence and discussed the prevailing political situation including the possible return of the PPP and the ANP in the opposition's alliance.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Shehbaz said leaders of the opposition parties had candidly discussed a host of domestic and foreign challenges facing the country.

"We agreed that there was a need for collective solutions to national issues. We will evolve a joint strategy for the budget session," he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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