LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), one of the major opposition parties, declared on Saturday that it would participate in the Senate polls and that any chance of withdrawal from the assemblies would be “weighed” after that.
The PML-N also said that the Senate elections and by-polls will be collectively fought by the minority parties in the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
After its vice president Maryam Nawaz presided over a meeting of the parliamentary board of the party held at the Sharifs’ Model Town residence to finalise the names of the candidates for the by-election scheduled to be held on Feb 19, the PML-N removed the uncertainty over the matter.
The declaration by the PML-N came in direct contrast to last week’s comment by PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman that the alliance will determine whether or not to take part in the Senate elections and on resignations from assemblies after January 31.
The PDM sent Prime Minister Imran Khan a Jan 31 ultimatum to resign.
Wants to jointly contest the polls with other opposition parties
Senior PML-N chief and former Federal Minister Khurram Dastagir, who attended the conference, said the Senate elections would be contested by the party and a decision would be made afterwards to withdraw from the assemblies.
We conducted a preliminary debate at the meeting on the nomination of candidates for the by-polls next month. Soon, we’ll announce our candidates,’ he added.
“When asked if the opposition had backtracked from its previous position before the Senate elections scheduled for March to resign from the asse-mblies, Mr. Dastagir said: “We would resign from the assemblies, but after the Senate polls.
But, he explained that the biggest problem was not resignations. The important thing is a long march, and how we mobilise the people for this,” he said.”
The Pakistan Peoples Party, another key component of the PDM, had recently announced that it would challenge the Senate polls because it would not be prudent for the PTI government to “leave the field open”.
Maryam Nawaz and other Hawkish members of the PML-N were not satisfied, according to a party source, with the PDM’s decision to delay the option of assembly resignations. Prior to this announcement, Ms. Nawaz said at opposition protests that if 400 lawmakers withdrew, this government would not be able to work.
Protest, whether in the form of protests, long marches or sit-ins, seems to be the only alternative left for the PDM, he said.
PML-N General Secretary Ahsan Iqbal told reporters that in the Senate race, the floor would not be left open to the government.
“We are going to compete in the Senate elections. We don’t expect the government in the Senate to get a two-thirds vote to pass bills of its choosing. Along with other opposition groups in the PDM, we will fight the Senate and by-polls,” he said.
“Mr. Iqbal warned that if Prime Minister Imran Khan had finished his term, no one would be prepared to become the country’s premier after him because of the “destruction that he (Imran) would cause the country