PML-N stalwart Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday said that his and his party’s confidence in the PPP has been shaken ever since the developments that unfolded in Senate last week.
“The confidence that we had in PPP — at least I will say this as my personal opinion — has taken a significant hit after whatever happened in Senate,” said Abbasi, as he spoke to Geo News anchor Hamid Mir on his show “Capital Talk”.
“I have very little confidence left in them. Now they will have to rebuild that confidence and I believe this is my party’s opinion as well,” the PML-N leader added.
When asked why the PPP would be pushed to do such a thing, Abbasi said: “They are not forced to do so. It is the principle of the thing.”
The PML-N leader’s remarks referred to PPP’s move of rounding up votes and getting Yousaf Raza Gillani elected as the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, even though, according to PML-N, it had been decided that the position would go to them.
“You sat down and arrived at a decision with other parties, and then you backtracked. You could have asked the PDM to review the decision,” said Abbasi, as he continued to express his disappointment.
Last Friday, the PPP — seemingly unable to arrive at an amicable resolution to a dispute with other PDM parties over who should get the Senate opposition leader’s seat — had rounded 30 senators and gone ahead to secure the position for its candidate, Yousaf Raza Gillani, without the PDM’s blessing.
The numbers comprised 21 senators from the PPP itself, 2 senators from the Awami National Party, 1 senator of the Jamaat-i-Islami, 2 independents from FATA and a group of 4 ‘independents’ led by Senator Dilawar Khan that had broken away from the Balochistan Awami Party to support Gillani’s candidature.
Abbasi said that his party “has decided” that it will not recognise Gillani as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
He further said that if PPP wants to bring a no-confidence motion in Punjab, it should consult PDM.
Meanwhile, in response to PML-N “not recognising” Gillani’s appointment, PPP’s Naveed Qamar Shah said that his party, will then no longer recognise PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif as the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.
Abbasi during his interview, also spoke about the PML-N’s decision to participate in by-elections, saying that running for by-elections is “the party’s right”.
He said that the PDM had decided that until a decision is reached on resigning en masse from the assemblies, the parties must take party in by-polls.
“Even though it wasn’t our own decision, I believe it is the better course of action,” Abbasi said, adding: “Whenever elections take place, it is necessary to have our presence.”
The former prime minister was also asked to comment on PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar’s remarks, who in a surprise move today, said that the PPP should not have asked for Balochistan Awami Party’s votes, but at the same time, also said that the PML-N should not have put pressure on other parties to support mass resignations from assemblies.
To this, Abbasi said: “No one has exerted pressure. There was an independent opinion given in a meeting by all nine parties. No party had consulted another.”
The PML-N leader also shot down rumours of party vice president Maryam Nawaz leaving the country over health concerns, saying that she is currently on the government’s Exit Control List.