Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Shehbaz Sharif discuss strategies to revive PDM

Hassan Naqvi Staff Reporter

09th Oct, 2021. 06:40 pm

LAHORE: Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Friday discussed strategies to revive the opposition alliance — Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), sources told Bol News.

The two discussed the PDM when JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman met PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif to inquire about his health at the latter’s Model Town residence.

“They agreed that all the opposition parties are on one page when it comes to re-appointment of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal via an ordinance and rising inflation, which they believe could be used as a focal point to reunite the opposition parties who had left the PDM earlier, including Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP),” an official privy to the meeting said.

All opposition parties have denounced the extension granted to the NAB chief.

Sources said that the JUI-F leader had asked Shehbaz to play his part in reviving the PDM and try to win back PPP and ANP.

“You enjoy a good working relationship with PPP and ANP leadership so why don’t you speak to them and bring them on board again,” a source quoted Fazlur Rehman.

‘First death anniversary of PDM’

September 20 marked the first anniversary of the PDM, which was the grand alliance of the country’s 11 leading opposition parties. However, after a year it is nowhere to be seen in the current political scenario and many political pundits called it the movement’s “first death anniversary”.

In the initial days, PDM managed to gain momentum due to the fiery speeches of Fazl, Maryam and Bilawal.

“The PDM was on its boom after a successful power show in Multan on November 30, 2020, with the help of PPP stalwart and former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani,” a political pundit told Bol News.

Many analysts believe that it is after this power show people started buying the arguments of the PDM leadership.

They added that the argument solidified once joint candidates of PDM managed to win by-elections in Nowshera (PK-63), Gujranwala (PP-51) and Pishin III (PB-20). The government was actually on the backfoot, they added.

But this grand opposition alliance died over the issue of resignation from the assemblies.

PPP was clear from day one that it would not resign from parliament and would instead continue its struggle while remaining part of the democratic setup. The party has always followed this policy since Benazir Bhutto’s leadership.

But the show cause notices issued by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to ANP and PPP allegedly for breaking the rules acted as the last nail in the coffin of PDM.  

Now, it remains to be seen whether PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif manages to bring these parties back into the PDM’s fold or whether they would continue supporting PDM on an issue to issue basis.

“It will be an uphill task for Shehbaz Sharif to bring PPP and ANP back to PDM’s fold, but he might be able to convince them to become part of any protest, sit-ins or movement against the federal government,” a senior PDM leader told Bol News.

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