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Allies assure Shehbaz of full support



ISLAMABAD:

A day after the joint opposition successfully executed the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan to topple the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) stepped up efforts for claiming the premiership for its chief, Shehbaz Sharif.

In this regard, the party president, who until Saturday night served as the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, started approaching his allies, including Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, to cement their support for his candidacy.

The joint opposition had already decided to field Shehbaz as their candidate for the chief executive of the country, and these meetings could be perceived as a gesture of thanks for their support in getting the motion passed or to reiterate the unity between the ranks of the opposition alliance.

Read more: PTI protests against ‘foreign conspiracy’ against Imran Khan

The meetings came after the submission of Shehbaz’s nomination papers for premiership—a bone of contention between the erstwhile government and opposition, as the PTI voiced its opposition to his candidacy and decided to field former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi as its candidate in the election.

However, when the PTI’s objections to Shehbaz’s candidacy were dismissed by the NA Secretariat, the party decided about en masse resignation on Monday, a decision that was taken after the party’s core committee met at Imran’s Bani Gala residence.

After the submission of his nomination papers, Shehbaz reached out to his allies, who reposed their full support for his leadership.

The former opposition leader went to the Parliament Lodges to meet the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) lawmakers, the last-minute allies of the joint opposition, whose support made it possible for the alliance to oust the PTI government.

Also read: Struggle against ‘foreign conspiracy’ begins today: Imran Khan

Shehbaz thanked the party for its support for the vote of no-confidence. The party, who joined the opposition after signing a ‘Charter of Rights for the People of Sindh’ with its formal rival, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), voiced its support for the PML-N president’s candidacy. The two sides also deliberated on future strategies as they move forward in the wake of the current political situation.

Separately, the prime minister-hopeful also called on Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Khalid Magsi, another former ally of the PTI government that delivered a major blow to the then-ruling alliance by joining hands with the opposition. Shehbaz thanked Magsi for his support, who in turn, thanked the former opposition leader for leading the efforts.

The PML-N president also visited the residence of the chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and the president of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the opposition alliance that collectively led the anti-government efforts. Shehbaz congratulated Fazl on the success of the no-confidence motion.

Furthermore, a meeting was held between the leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the PML-N, wherein the father-son duo thanked the former opposition leader for his struggle that culminated in the ouster of the previous government.

The two sides pledged to work together on matters of public interest and deliberated on electoral reforms prior to the next general elections. The meeting was attended by senior leaders of both sides, including Zardari, Bilawal, Shehbaz, Ayaz Sadiq, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Shazia Marri and Saad Rafique.



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