Opposition ‘troika’ renewing ties for ‘in-house change’

Noor Aftab
Thursday, Jan 20, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The ‘troika’ of leaders from opposition parties - former president Asif Ali Zardari, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman are renewing their ties to pave the way for in-house change in the parliament, reliable sources told The News here Wednesday.

Sources claimed that former president Asif Ali Zardari took the initiative and made contacts with both Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazlur Rehman last week to break the ice in their mutual political relations.

“Asif Ali Zardari conveyed messages to Nawaz Sharif in the evening on January 13 about some important political issues. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif then immediately contacted Maulana Fazlur Rehman and both of them decided to meet the following day,” sources said.

Sources said Zardari then made contact with Maulana Fazlur Rehman on January 16 and it was a real breakthrough because both of them spent last many months having ill-feelings towards each other after separation of PPP from Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), a political alliance of opposition parties.

“The upcoming meeting of the PDM to be held on January 25 will be important in the sense that both Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazlur Rehman are likely to openly support the proposal of in-house change that was actually floated by the PPP in the past,” sources said.

“Maulana Fazlur Rehman is fully convinced that from now onwards the ‘powerful quarters’ will not interfere in the political affairs but the PMLN is still sceptical and not fully accepting this viewpoint. The PMLN thinks that the strings of coalition partners and disgruntled elements like Jahangir Tareen Group are still in the hands of some other forces due to which they are not able to take decisions on their own,” sources said.

Sources confided to this correspondent that PPP is now wholeheartedly willing to support next prime minister from the PMLN for remaining tenure of the National Assembly, adding “PMLN has categorically conveyed to the PPP and all other stakeholders that first it would not become part of any interim setup and, secondly, it wanted dissolution of assemblies and holding of free and fair elections at the earliest”.

They said the renewed ties among these three political leaders should set the alarm bells ringing in the power corridors because if they join hands for an in-house change or long march then the crisis-hit government of the PTI would find it hard to face their political onslaught.

The sources said disgruntled PTI’s members are constantly making contacts with PMLN, JUI-F and PPP and these three leaders are expected to share their respective ‘numbers’ in this connection at some point in near future. Sources said if PMLN, JUI-F and PPP succeed in removing their mutual distrust then they would also be able to muster support of the ANP against the incumbent government. They said after exchange of messages with Asif Ali Zardari, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif also paid a visit to a place in London, owned by a non-political member of a prominent political family of Punjab, where he spent some time away from hustle and bustle of the city. PPP leader Nafisa Shah told this correspondent that “the political relations of the PPP with other opposition parties are already good. But in politics the party has to protect its interests so political alliances have their own limits”.