ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has turned to his government’s allies in a bid to defuse the impending anti-government protest campaign planned by some opposition groups.
On Friday, PM Nawaz held separate meetings with the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s Mahmood Khan Achakzai, the National Party’s Hasil Bizenjo and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s Fazlur Rehman and garnered their support against, what government terms, attempts to sabotage the PML-N’s development agenda.
Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) are all set to start another protest campaign to dislodge the incumbent government. Earlier in August 2014, the same parties also launched a marathon sit-in in Islamabad.
The PTI has announced a protest rally from Peshawar to Attock on August 7. It also plans another protest march from Rawalpindi to Islamabad next week. Dr Qadri’s PAT will be holding a protest march in Lahore today (Saturday) and has threatened to turn it into a sit-in in front of the Punjab Assembly.
Qadri’s PAT also claims to have the support of other smaller parties like Pakistan Muslim League-Q, Majlis Wahdat Muslimeen, Sunni Tehreek, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan and some other groups.
“Being a political party and representative of the people of our province, we are totally supportive of the democratically-elected federal government,” the PM office quoted Hasil Bizenjo as saying during his meeting with the prime minister.
Bizenjo is president of the National Party and is also the minister for ports and shipping in Nawaz’s cabinet. His party, along with Achakzai’s PkMAP, are also the ruling PML-N’s coalition partners in Balochistan. Fazlur Rehman’s JUI-F is also part of the government in the Centre. The premier after a long gap of two years also held a meeting with lawmakers of his party on Thursday. The ruling PML-N plans to aggressively propagate development schemes to counter opposition’s onslaught.
Opposition parties have been mounting pressure on government to investigate Panama Papers, which in April revealed that family members of the prime minister held off shore companies in a tax haven.
In aftermath of the scandal, two mainstream parties – the Pakistan Peoples Party and PTI – filed references against the prime minister and his close relatives in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). However, the PPP is indecisive on the question of street protests but the PTI wants to pursue Panamagate scandal and corruption issues aggressively. It is also planning to move to Supreme Court against the premier in the coming days.