Pakistan Democratic Movement chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Tuesday called upon the PPP and the ANP to reconsider their decision of withdrawing from the Opposition alliance.
“The PDM was not formed so that was bicker over some position or the other. We have seen many challenges through and were always able to sort things out with dialogue and mutual understanding.
“Even today, the PPP and ANP have the opportunity to review their decision,” he said, as he addressed a press conference in Islamabad, alongside other leaders of the alliance, including PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal.
The media briefing followed a meeting of the Opposition alliance, sans PPP and ANP. The session was reportedly convened at Fazlur Rehman’s residence.
It was called a day after PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari announced his party’s departure from the alliance.
Both the PPP and the ANP parted ways after they were served show-cause notices by the PDM to explain why they sought the support of a government ally (Balochistan Awami Party) and got Yousaf Raza Gillani elected as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate without the alliance’s blessing.
The ANP characterised the issuance of the notice as a move to tarnish the party’s reputation, and the PPP expressed similar views. Bilawal reportedly tore up the notice in the party’s Central Executive Committee meeting, saying that for him nothing is greater than respect.
Fazlur Rehman, in his press conference today, said that both the parties “should not have adopted such a behaviour”.
He said that it was the right of the Opposition alliance to demand an explanation for the PPP and ANP’s move to get Gillani appointed in the manner he was.
The PDM chief said that all political parties of the alliance have “equal status”. However, the PDM does have an administrative structure as well.
“The majority of our decisions were made with agreement between all parties. Candidates for Chairman Senate, Deputy Chairman Senate and Leader of Opposition in Senate were decided by consensus,” he said.
“Many times an issue ended up not being completely resolved. But we brought to the fore whatever progress was made on it,” Fazlur Rehman said.
The PDM chief said that through it all, a love for Pakistan’s politics and democracy always remained at the centre of the alliance’s decisions.
“Even today we keep in mind that great purpose of this forum,” he said.
Fazlur Rehman said that “unnecessarily” making the show-cause notices “a matter of self-esteem is not in line with the demands of politics”.
“They could have called a session of the PDM as well, stating that they will explain the matter there,” he said, adding: “They could have called a meeting of the steering committee.”
He said that it was unfortunate that news of the show-cause notice being torn by the PPP chairman came to the fore. “The latest news is that they said who are these people to demand an explanation from us,” noted Fazlur Rehman.
PDM’s journey ahead
Fazlur Rehman said that the PDM “will make its decisions in Ramadan” and that there will be “no compromise on the pace of the movement”.
“We will not change the pace and progress of PDM,” he reiterated.
“We waited for our friends to return and will continue to wait for them,” the PDM chief said.
Fazlur Rehman said that “we did not expect at all that they would cosy up to BAP this way (humein tawaqqa hi naheen thhi ke yeh BAP ko baap banaayein ge)”.
The PDM chief said that the alliance is still waiting for PPP to review its decision and show political maturity and dignity. “There has to be a difference when it comes to a 35-year-old versus a 70-year-old,” he added.
He acknowledged receiving the resignations from both parties, but said: “I am putting these on hold for now.”
“We have responded and we expect that the demonstrate maturity in return,” he said.
“We do not want to get tangled in a constant exchange of words. This is our final say in this regard,” he added.
PPP’s Kaira responds
Shortly after Fazlur Rehman’s media talk, PPP’s Qamar Zaman Kaira held his own media briefing to respond.
“No show cause notices are ever served in an alliance […] It is not as if we broke a consensus,” he said.
Kaira said that the party continues to respect Fazlur Rehman.
He insisted that the PPP had “not deviated from any agreement”. The PPP leader noted that a harsh exchange of words had taken place between the PPP and PML-N, however adding: “We did not start anything.”
“Fazlur Rehman has made rather inappropriate remarks. We expect that he retract these comments,” Kaira said, referring to the “BAP ko baap” remarks.
He also demanded that an apology be issued to PPP and ANP on the notices being sent.