Bilawal, Shahbaz agree to put united front on ECP appointments

Statesman Report

ISLAMABAD: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday telephoned Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and the two spoke about appointments to the Election Commission of Pakistan’s vacant posts, the PML-N said.

Two seats of the ECP — one each from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — fell vacant due to the members retiring on July 26.

According to the PML-N, the two leaders discussed the ECP appointments and agreed that they will proceed forward together on the matter with consultations.

Meanwhile, the PPP, which also issued a statement following the meeting, said that the two, besides the appointment of the ECP members, also discussed the overall political situation in the country.

According to Geo News, the Opposition has decided to put up a united front on the matter of ECP appointments.

Sources told Geo News that deliberations were held between Bilawal and Shahbaz over the three candidates proposed by Prime Minister Imran Khan for Punjab and KP each.

For Punjab a discussion was held to consider candidates Ahsan Mehboob, Raja Aamir Khan, and Syed Pervaiz Abbas.

For Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, deliberations revolved around candidates retired justice Ikramullah Khan, Faridullah Khan, and Muzammil Khan.

Bilawal and Shahbaz also agreed to “go to whatever extent it takes” to oppose the government’s proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority, the sources said.

They added that the Opposition agreed to have a joint stance on President Arif Alvi’s speech during a joint session of the parliament that kicks off its fourth year.

Rift in the opposition

The contact between the two Opposition leaders comes amid a rift in the Opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement, an alliance that the PPP quit in April this year, along with another member, the Awami National Party (ANP).

While Shahbaz has indicated a desire to see both parties come back into the PDM fold, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has moved from a similar sentiment to recently declare PPP as “back-stabbers”.

The PPP chairman, in response, said “we trusted many friends but all of them cheated us”.