Hours after threatening to disrupt OIC moot, Opposition announces to welcome guests


PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif (C) and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari address a press conference. Photo: Geo TV/ screengrab
PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif (C) and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari address a press conference. Photo: Geo TV/ screengrab   
  • The joint Opposition says that the country’s internal political situation and confrontation would not be allowed to impact the OIC session.
  • Opposition announces warmly welcoming distinguished foreign guests on their arrival in Islamabad to attend the OIC session.
  • Opposition says they would play their role in keeping atmosphere of Islamabad pleasant. 

ISLAMABAD: Hours after threatening to sabotage a two-day meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Islamabad, the joint Opposition, surprisingly, announced their intent to warmly welcoming the distinguished foreign guests on their arrival in the federal capital to attend the session scheduled to be held from March 22-23.

In a statement issued on Saturday night by PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb, the joint Opposition said that the country’s internal political situation and confrontation would not be allowed to impact the OIC session, The News reported. 

“Arrival of respectable of guests will be a matter of immense pleasure and pride for us,” read the statement.

The statement said the opposition leaders laud commitment and spirit of participants in the OIC session with which they would be visiting Islamabad to ponder over Afghanistan, Kashmir, Palestine and other issue multiple issues facing the Muslim world, at the OIC session.

Pleasant atmosphere in Islamabad

They assured the incoming foreign guests that the combined Opposition, representing people of Pakistan, will welcome them in Islamabad. The opposition said that they would play their due role in keeping atmosphere of Islamabad pleasant while keeping in traditions of hospitality and respect.

“We will help in creating such an atmosphere in which our distinguished guests can carrying on their activities whole-heartedly and with focus,” the Opposition said, adding that’s why the opposition decided to change dates of long march and directed its workers not to enter Islamabad prior to March 25 evening.

Sit-in at NA if no-trust not taken up

Earlier, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, while addressing a joint press conference flanked by PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif and others following an important meeting of the Opposition leaders, threatened to stage a sit-in at the National Assembly if the speaker did not allow moving of the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday, March 21.

“We will not vacate the National Assembly hall and will see how you hold the OIC session there if the speaker does not allow moving the no-trust resolution,” PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said.

Bilawal said they would stage a sit-in there if the speaker did not allow the no-trust resolution soon after offering Fateha for the deceased MNA on the same day (March 21).

However, later on a spokesperson for the PPP said Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s statement was not aimed at the OIC Council of FMs session but the government. The statement had said the Muslim states’ foreign ministers were guests of Pakistan, and they were respectable for all political parties of the country.

The OIC Council of FMs session is scheduled to be held on March 22 and 23 in the National Assembly hall.

The leaders of the opposition parties on Saturday held an important meeting at residence of the opposition leader and PMLN PresidentShehbaz Sharif at the Ministers’ Enclave to give the finishing touches to the strategy for success of the no-trust resolution.

They discussed a counter-strategy in case the government and speaker caused delay in voting on the no-trust resolution. The opposition parties had submitted the no-confidence resolution along with a requisition in the National Assembly Secretariat on March 8, to summon the House. As per National Assembly rules, the speaker is bound to summon requistioned session within 14 days of submission of the resolution.

The opposition meeting was attended by Shehbaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Yusuf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Khwaja Asif and others.

Bilawal told the media he would convince other opposition leaders not to leave the house if Speaker Asad Qaiser attempted to take any undemocratic steps. “We will stay there on the floor of the National Assembly till we get our right,” Bilawal added.

He said the government was conspiring to follow the path of violence to stop voting on the no-trust resolution, but he said he wanted to tell people that Imran Khan had lost majority in the National Assembly.

Bilawal alleged that the PM was out to follow undemocratic path as firstly he attacked the Parliament and then attacked the Sindh House, which was tantamount to attacking a federating unit. “Imran Khan also wanted to create constitutional crisis to give an opportunity to the third power,” he had alleged. He had said Imran had been defeated and the bureaucracy was not bound to take any orders from him. “The president should also not accept any suggestion from Imran Khan,” he added.

Bilawal appreciated the Supreme Court for taking notice of the attack on the Sindh House. Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif also supported views of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and announced staging sit-in inside the National Assembly if the proceedings were not run as per rules. He said the speaker was bound to summon the requistioned session and run the House as per Constitution and rules. “We are Pakistanis and will not allow you to violate the Constitution,” he added.

He said it was against the spirit of the Constitution if the defection clause of the Constitution was applied before using the right to vote, saying that there were chances of promulgation of the Presidential Ordinance in that regard.

Shehbaz said Imran Khan was accusing his own members that they had taken money, whereas his allies had rejected the same allegations, which was a slap in his face. He questioned whether the PTI leadership did not commit horse-trading in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan elections. “Was it not horse-trading when six of PMLN MPAs in Punjab Assembly met Imran Khan,” he said.

Shehbaz also warned the IG Police Punjab, commissioners and other government officials not to become tools in the hands of Imran Khan; otherwise they would be held accountable.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman questioned as to where the voice of conscience was when the PTI leadership brought people in an aircraft, and now Imran Khan and his ministers were calling their party members donkeys and mules. The PDM chief said that the opposition had won the war against the PTI government already, and they would accomplish the remaining mission successfully.

Asked to comment what would happen if PM Imran Khan prematurely retired the head of an institution, Fazlur Rehman said Imran Khan could not do so once no-trust resolution was submitted against him. “Nobody will accept his decision,” he said.

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