Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif has embarked upon a mission to reunite the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement and invited all the parties, including the estranged Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the ANP to dinner in Islamabad.
However, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president’s bid fell short of his expectations as PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari did not attend the dinner, but sent a three-member delegation comprising Yousaf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Sherry Rehman.
Amir Haider Khan Hoti, the leader of the other estranged party ANP, attended the dinner.
Insiders revealed that a meeting of heads of all parties is called for Tuesday (today), without the PPP.
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, who was reportedly in the federal capital, and PDM chairman and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman did not attend the dinner.
No formal press talk was held after the dinner.
Insiders said Shehbaz addressed the guests, but no formal meeting was held. He urged leaders to unite again in the “public interest.”
There was no discussion on how to re-unite the alliance.
The source said the PPP and the ANP sought time to give their reply on the issue raised by Shehbaz Sharif.
It is learnt that the guests talked about the budget and how the opposition could provide relief to the nation.
Meanwhile, PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurganzeb told a news channel that it was only “a dinner and not a formal meeting.”
Talking to another news outlet, party Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal said Shehbaz Sharif was attempting to unite the opposition.
He said it was a reconciliation attempt for the Opposition. “There can be no reconciliation with the government,” he added.
Ahsan expressed happiness that all the representatives of Opposition parties attended the dinner. “I would have been happier had PPP Chairman Bilawal attended the dinner.”