Opposition Held Meeting With Military Leadership Before APC, Confirms PPP

A meeting was held between the leaders of parliamentary parties and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa last week ahead of the All-Parties Conference, confirmed Pakistan People's Party (PPP) lawmaker Sherry Rehman.

According to Senator Rehman, the meeting which was held on the request of the army chief was convened to discuss the 'sensitive' issues pertaining to Gilgit-Baltistan in the wake of 'increasing Indian aggression'.

The senator said the prime minister was absent from the meeting; however, she refused to give further details as the meeting was 'classified'. "During the meeting, I questioned why was not the meeting being held at Prime Minister's House and how could the system work if the PM continued to be absent from such important meeting," Sherry said.

The political issues did not come up during the meeting, said the PPP leader, adding the party agenda remained limited to the issues pertaining to the GB region. The army chief said the political parties needed to strengthen the parliamentary democracy, she admitted, refusing to give further details.

During the meeting, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari demanded 'free and fair' polls in Gilgit-Baltistan and urged greater representation for the people of the region, she added.

A day after the opposition parties demanded an end to the involvement of the military in politics, the Pakistan Army leadership said that the institution should be kept away from politics.

According to ARY News, the top brass of the army ‘made it clear that it has no role in the country’s political matters, election reforms, and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’ as often alleged by the opposition leaders.

The news report claimed that the army chief made these comments during a meeting with the parliamentary leaders who had called on him to discuss matters related to Gilgit-Baltistan last week.

On Sunday, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif addressed a multi-party moot of the opposition parties. In his speech, the former PM said that it was very important for the sake of the country that the armed forces remained apolitical.

“It is very important that our armed forces stay away from our governmental system according to our Constitution and the Quaid’s  [Muhammad Ali Jinnah] speech, and not interfere with the people’s choice. We have made this country a joke in our own eyes and globally as well.”

Pakistan Democratic Movement

The major opposition parties have decided to put up a joint front with the name of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to oust the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and vie for a ‘non-political establishment’ in the country.

The decision was taken after an hours-long multi-party moot held in Islamabad on Sunday to chalk out a strategy against the ‘selected government’ led by PTI chief and Prime Minister Imran Khan. The opposition lawmakers also demanded the ‘immediate resignation’ of Imran Khan and transparent polls in the country.

Dawn reported that a 26-point resolution passed by the multiparty conference announced the formation of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — an “alliance structure which will lead and guide nationwide protests against the anti-public and anti-nation government in a disciplined and integrated manner”.

The resolution read by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the incumbent regime was brought into power by the establishment and also owed its ‘fake stability’ to the powers-that-be. The resolution expressed ‘extreme concern’ over the increasing interference of the establishment in internal affairs of the country and regarded it as a ‘danger to the nation’s stability and institutions’.

The current regime has turned parliament into a ‘rubber stamp’, said the resolution, announcing that the opposition parties won’t cooperate with the government on legislation anymore.

The newly-formed PDM announced that the opposition parties would launch a three-phased anti-government movement from next month, with countrywide public meetings, protest demonstrations and rallies in December, and a ‘decisive’ long march towards Islamabad in January 2021.