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PPP forms committee to woo BNP-M into opposition fold

By Our Staff Reporter 2019-06-14
ISLAMABAD: A day after the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) constituted a committee to engage its estranged ally Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNPM) ahead of the crucial vote on the federal budget, the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) also formed a committee to hold talks with the nationalist party from Balochistan.

According to a party notification, the four-member committee for talks with the BNP-M comprises Nayyar Bokhari, Farhatullah Babar, Raja Pervez Ashraf and Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Babar said that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had formed the committee in line with a decision of opposition parties to give a `real tough time` to the government from the platform of parliament during the budget approval process.

Mr Babar said they believed that the BNP-M, a party sitting on the treasury benches and having reservadons over a number of government policies, could play a vital role in the implementation of the opposition`s plan to register its protest in the strongest possible terms against the government over its policy of victimising the opponents and its f ailed economic policies.

When asked as to why the PPP had formed the committee to engage a party which was a ruling coalition partner, he said the BNP-M had been complaining for the past many months that their demands were not being fulfilled and the party had also indicated that it might not vote for the budget if the government did not implement the accord between the two parties.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had constituted a three-member committee to oversee the implementation of the six-point agreement reached with the nationalist party from Balochistan at the time of the formation of the federal government in August last year after the latter`s covert threat to abstain from vote on the federal budget.

The members of the committee headed by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak hadalready held its first meeting with BNP-M chief Sardar AkhtarMengalonWednesday.

The other two members of the committee are Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Establishment Arbab Shehzad.

The PTI spokesman later said that the meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere and the two sides had agreed to continue meetings on a regular basis. Speaking at a news conference last week, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had stated that the passage of the federal budget would be a tough task for the government as Mr Mengal had told him that they might not vote for it.

On the other hand, the PTI spokesman claimed that the issue of the vote on the federal budget did not come up under discussion during the meeting and he also dispelled the impression that the BNP-M might not vote for the budget.

The six-point memorandum of understanding had been signed by the representatives of the two parties after a marathon session between Mr Mengal and PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi after which the BNP had agreed to support PTI candidates for the positions of prime minister and speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly after the last year`s elections.

The six points included recovery of missing persons, implementation of the National Action Plan, implementation of six per cent quota for Balochistan in the federal government, immediate repatriation of Afghan refugees and the construction of dams in the province to resolve the water crisis.

Coordination committee Meanwhile, the PPP has also constituted a coordination committee for overseeing matters relating to the already announced mass contact and mobilisation campaign against the government.

According to an official announcement, the coordination committee comprises Yousuf Raza Gilani, Nayyar Bokhari, Farhatullah Babar, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Qaim Ali Shah, Taj Haider, Najamuddin Khan and Sabir Baloch.