The opposition failed to finalise its strategy for a no-confidence motion against the PTI-led government in their meeting on Wednesday.

The meeting of three top political leaders remained inconclusive as they have yet to decide against whom they would bring the no-confidence move first: the prime minister or Punjab chief minister.

Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, former president Asif Ali Zardari and PDM chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rahman met to fine-tune the anti-PTI strategy, after a luncheon hosted by the PML-N leader.

It is learnt that the Maulana expressed his dissatisfaction over the delay in the announcement of a no-confidence motion and asked both leaders to reach a final conclusion within the next two days.

Insiders said the PML-N wanted to bring the no-confidence motion directly against Prime Minister Imran while the PPP wanted to move against the National Assembly speaker and Punjab chief minister.

They said that the PPP leader revealed that the members of Jahangir Tareen group, who were secretly supporting the united opposition, were also of the view that as the first step, the no-confidence motion should be brought against the speaker because as per the Constitution, it will be held through a secret ballot.

The second difference in the united opposition was who would become the head of the government if the no-confidence movement was successful, as anyone, who will take charge, will have to implement the IMF’s agenda and face the wrath of the public.

Insiders added that Shehbaz wanted someone from within the PPP as the prime minister while the PPP wanted him to be the next prime minister, a proposal which he was reluctant to accept.

They claimed that former president Asif Ali Zardari nominated Shehbaz as the prime minister while Shehbaz named PPP’s Khursheed Shah for the slot.

Fazal had led a delegation comprising Akram Durrani, Maulana Asad-ur-Rehman and Maulana Amjad while the PPP’s delegation included Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, parliamentary leader Syed Hassan Murtaza and others.

Insiders revealed that before the arrival of Zardari, Fazal and Shehbaz had one-on-one meeting. Shehbaz took the PDM chief into confidence over his recent discussion with Zardari on joining his party in the long march. The two leaders discussed various issues against the government, including the no-confidence motion.

THE DILEMMA: The opposition parties’ coalition favours immediate elections but the ruling PTI’s allies are not in its favour. However, since the coalition seeks support of government’s allies for bringing a no-trust motion against the government, Zardari said to have persuaded the opposition leaders to show flexibility on the matter of elections.

It is learnt that Wednesday’s meeting gave the former president the power to settle matters with the ruling PTI’s allies.

Insiders said the PML-N president told the meeting that the PML-N would announce its candidate for the slot of prime minister in case of success of the no-confidence motion. However, the PDM chief asked both the leaders to reveal the names of PTI’s rebels but they didn’t on the pretext that it might be early to reveal their names.

Meanwhile, Zardari apprised the meeting about the “positive” contacts being made with the ruling coalition parties, the PML-Q and the Balochistan Awami Party. At this, the participants expressed satisfaction over the numbers game.

On the other hand, the opposition parties have also started signing the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan for which, the united opposition claimed to have the support of 24 members of the ruling party.

The opposition parties have 162 members and 10 more votes were needed to make the no-confidence motion a success. The PML-N has claimed to have the support of 16 government members while the PPP claimed to have the support of six government members and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) said they had the support of two government members.


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