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ISLAMABAD: The Steering Committee of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has recommended quitting Parliament and launching long march across the country —the two key proposals that would be reviewed in a meeting of opposition alliance’s party heads— scheduled today (Monday).

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) stalwart and former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Sunday, presided over the virtual meeting of the PDM Steering Committee that has representation of mainstream opposition parties except Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which has parted ways with the PDM.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F) is strongly pressing that PDM parties resign en masse from the Parliament and then go for long march, it is learnt. On the other hand, PML-N is not in favour of en masse resignations and is of the opinion that the PDM should first launch the long march to test its political strength before considering other options, an opposition leader told Business Recorder, on the condition of anonymity.

In addition, there are also differences between JUI-F and PML-N regarding modalities of the proposed long march, according to sources. The JUI-F wants the long march directly from Lahore to Islamabad, whereas N-League, especially the group led by its President Shehbaz Sharif, supports launching long march in the provinces first before deciding in favour of a ‘decisive’ long march, sources said.

In an indication that PML-N has quietly distanced itself from the ‘aggressive’ policies of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazal-ur- Rehman, the PML-N announced on Thursday that its Vice President Maryam Nawaz suspended political activities for 15 days due to engagements related to her son Junaid Safdar’s wedding reception.

Speaking to Business Recorder, PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah denied that there were any differences in JUI-F and PML-N. “The rumours of differences are nothing but the figment of imagination of Imran Khan’s cronies who are unnerved by the growing strength of opposition,” he said.

“The unprecedented inflation has made this government extremely unpopular. Sensing the public outrage, the rulers have lost their senses,” he added.

The PML-N leader said the issue of en masse resignations and long march would be taken up in the PDM’s Monday meeting. “The PML-N believes that opposition forces should follow the policy of consultation with one another instead of confrontation. Any decision, taken from the forum of PDM, shall be acceptable to us — whether it is en masse resignations or long march,” he added. The PML-N would direct all its party tiers to implement in letter and spirit the decisions taken by PDM, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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