ISLAMABAD: A senior member of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz indicated on Tuesday that the party planned to quit the National Assembly in order to compel the government to call early general elections.
Talking to reporters outside the Supreme Court here on Tuesday, League MNA Khwaja Mohammad Asif said the party leadership was considering the option of quitting the National Assembly and may take a decision to that effect within two months.
He said there had been a general belief in the party that parliament had become dysfunctional and, therefore, there was no point in remaining in it.
Khwaja Asif, who is considered to be one of the main advisers of Mian Nawaz Sharif, said former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had endorsed PML-N’s viewpoint that the executive had curtailed parliament’s role which was evident from its performance over the past three years.
He said Mr Qureshi had realised it now whereas he and his party colleagues had been saying this for several months.
Moreover, he said, the demand for mid-term elections was not unconstitutional because the Constitution had provisions for early elections.
Another senior PML-N leader told Dawn that the option to submit en masse resignation from the National Assembly was thoroughly debated at a number of meetings presided over by Mr Sharif.
He said that the leadership had already decided to use the option of resignations when realised that this would definitely ensure early elections.
Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has termed Mr Asif’s remarks a ‘drone attack’ on parliament.
Addressing a press conference, she said the opposition wanted to wrap up parliament and democracy.
She expressed the hope that 180 million people of Pakistan would foil the opposition’s plan and defend parliament.
There has been a significant rise in the political temperature in the country since last month’s announcement by the PML-N to launch a full-fledged anti-government movement, intensification of Imran Khan’s campaign against both the PPP and the
PML-N and, last but not the least, the resignation of Shah Mehmood Qureshi from the PPP and the National Assembly.
The sources said that feelings within the PML-N were growing that the time had now come for the PML-N to come out on the streets to mobilise masses against the government and even leaders with a moderate approach were now supporting the idea.
Political experts see the language used by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the party’s first show of street power in Lahore against President Zardari as a clear indication that the opposition this time means business and wants to make a final attempt to oust the PPP-led coalition government before the next Senate elections scheduled in March next year.
Although PML-N leaders publicly claim that the Senate elections are not their main target, party insiders say the ultimate aim of the opposition’s anti-government drive is to change the political landscape before the Senate polls, in which the PPP for the
first time in the country’s parliamentary history is expected to get an overwhelming majority in the upper house.
PML-N hints at en masse resignation | Newspaper | DAWN.COM