The opposition parties have stepped up their efforts to win over the PTI’s allies to gather enough support to give a tough time to the ruling party.
The government’s allies — PML-Q and MQM-P — have held meetings to gauge the political volatility and seriousness of the newly-built opposition consensus against the PTI at a time when inflation has sky-rocketed and terrorism is rearing its ugly head again in the country.
However, the ruling party has tried to maintain that it was unfazed by these developments, while simultaneously expressing the confidence that it would weather the storm.
“Allies have been with the government for the last three and a half years and will continue to remain so,” Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said when asked to comment on the recent developments.
“The government is least bothered about these meetings,” he added.
Habib, while repeating the ruling party’s rhetoric, alleged that “all the thieves” had gathered to save their skin because they knew that the process of accountability was moving ahead.
Also read: MQM-P delegation meets Shehbaz Sharif in Lahore
Ironically, the statement has come when Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently sacked his adviser on accountability over his poor performance and allegedly “misleading” him.
To a question as to whether or not the opposition parties would receive any success in wooing the PTI’s allies, Railways Minister Muhammad Azam Khan Swati replied: “not at all”.
The reason, he added, was the opposition’s “divided interests”.
However, PML-N senior leader and former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the opposition would meet all allies of this “failed government” and ask them to play their part in its removal.
Despite the split and political rivalry between the PML-N and PML-Q following the 1999 coup, the former PM hinted that the party would not hesitate to approach the latter.
“In politics, rivals always meet to discuss views,” Abbasi said while replying to the question if the PML-N was ready to meet the PML-Q to seek its support against the PTI.
Commenting on the chances of the opposition winning allies’ support, Abbasi said: “They [allies] have stated their ideology. As long as the ‘State’ is with the government, they are with the government.”
Also read: People have no better option than PTI: Imran
PML-Q senior leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who is also the Punjab Assembly speaker, while commenting on the recent meetings, said only the opposition could answer about their strategy of bringing a no-confidence motion against the government.
“Let something come to the fore. Then we will decide.”
Elahi’s statement has come a day after former president Asif Ali Zardari reached out to the party in Lahore over dinner to discuss the political situation, a possible future alliance and opposition parties’ newly-built consensus to send PM Imran packing.
On Sunday, a delegation of the MQM-P had met with the leadership of the opposition ANP in Charsadda.
On Tuesday, the MQM-P met with the PML-N leadership in Lahore to convey its concerns over the rising prices of essentials.
Later in the day, the PML-Q and MQM-P met to discuss the opposition parties’ agenda and the future course of action.
They reached the conclusion that they should “wait and see” the opposition’s moves before finally reaching a decision.
Also read: 22 PTI MNAs want to jump ship: Abbasi
Currently, the opposition parties are trying to convince the PTI’s allies in Punjab and Sindh to quit the government coalition as they were equally being blamed for all its policies and actions, especially the rising inflation.
However, political commentators said the opposition parties needed something more to show to the allies and jolt the government as mere talks would result in nothing.
Last time, the opposition had stunned the government and its allies when its joint candidate former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani had defeated the government’s financial czar Abdul Hafeez Shiekh on an Islamabad seat in the Senate elections despite the fact that the government had more votes than the opposition on paper.
The defeat was so shocking for the ruling party that PM Imran had to take a vote of confidence from the National Assembly.
However, the opposition’s victory did not last for long as the government had turned the tables on the opposition when it had bagged the Senate chairman and deputy chairman slots despite having fewer votes on paper than the opposition parties.
The political analysts said since then, the disarray in the opposition ranks had been helping the government.
They added that sometimes it feels that the opposition was less interested in ousting the government and more in ensuring that it completed its tenure.