LAHORE: Here in the Punjab capital on January 2, the top brass of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) will meet to decide to engage in by-polls for different seats in national and provincial assemblies, it is heard.
The meeting of the 11-party opposition alliance will be convened by PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and chaired by Maulana Fazlur Rehman at her Jati Umra home.
On the agenda of the meeting will be, in addition to by-polls, resignations from councils, involvement in the upcoming Senate polls and the long march timetable.
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In major cities around the country, the coalition has held a number of protests to press the government to resign and stage new elections. It is now moving its demonstrations to the cities to rally the crowds for the Islamabad march.
Meeting agenda likely to include resignations from assemblies, Senate polls, long march
The opposition has previously issued a Jan 31 deadline for the government to back down and go home or on Feb 1. it will declare a long march. Under the scheme, the leaders of each of the PDM’s 11 constituents would withdraw rallies from their respective strongholds and march separately on Islamabad and converge before entering the federal capital.
Today, reports claim, the deadline has evidently been pushed past March 23 because of the second coronavirus wave. Observers, however, see this as the product of the supposed disagreements between the representatives of the PDM in the forthcoming by-polls and the Senate elections due in March.
Currently, owing to the deaths of legislators, two National Assembly and six provincial assembly seats have been empty for about eight months.
PPP leader Taj Haider had moved Pakistan’s Election Commission to hold by-polls for the seats, claiming that if their members were not elected in time, the voters of the provincial constituencies, in particular, would go unrepresented in the Senate polls.
The PPP, it is learned, argued that in the Senate elections, the opposition could not leave the floor open to the governing party, otherwise it would prove lethal to the next government if and when Tehreek-i-Insaf Pakistan was pushed out of office.
For that reason, it calls for by-polls to be held before the Senate elections on the three vacant seats of the Sindh Assembly, as all other provincial governments were hesitant to commit to any electoral contest during the current pandemic, with the exception of the Sindh itself.
The PML-N is still indecisive on the topic and aims to make a definitive decision by way of internal consultations prior to the January 2 PDM conference.