Bilawal Bhutto Quits Pakistan’s Opposition Alliance

An alliance of Pakistan opposition parties, also known as the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), has suffered a major split, just six months after it was founded to fight the “selected” government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The opposition alliance, headed by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) leader, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has decided to part ways with Pakistan’s Peoples Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) and form a new alliance of five opposition parties having 27 members in the Senate, Dawn reported.
These five parties are PML-N, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), National Party (NP), and Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal). The PDM also decided to serve notices to the PPP and the ANP for not attending the alliance meeting on Friday and violating its decision.

The alliance was founded in September 2020.

On September 20 last year, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari — chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party — hosted an “all parties conference” at the Islamabad Marriott Hotel to form a grand political alliance and plan strategy for replacing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. Fazal-ur-Rehman, a harsh critic of the military establishment, read out the 26-point resolution adopted by the attendees.

In the span of six months, the alliance had organised over 15 public gatherings, demanding the resignations of Prime Minister Khan.

The decision to part ways was taken at a meeting of senators of five opposition parties, minus the PPP and the ANP, according to a press release by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

In recent weeks, the war of words inside the PDM has intensified and friction was visible over a slew of the issues.

The PPP was accused of siding with the government amid the ongoing tussle between the country’s two major opposition parties on the appointment of Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani as leader of the opposition in the Senate.

The PPP declared that it would not accept Shehbaz Sharif as the opposition leader in the National Assembly if Gilani was not supported by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the upper house of Parliament.

Last month, the PDM postponed its long march planned for later this month, amid differences within the alliance on the issue of resigning from the assemblies.

Addressing a press conference after an hours-long meeting of the PDM in Islamabad, Rehman said nine PDM parties had agreed on the proposal to submit resignations along with the long march. (ANI)

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