Saturday Sep 26, 2020
Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday said that he does not seek confrontation with anyone and believes in reconciliation.
In a conversation with senior journalists, the PML-N president said: "Confrontation will not benefit anyone. It is my belief that the country can only move forward with consultation and reconciliation."
He said that he has been "in touch with the army as an institution for 25 years now".
Shehbaz, went on to say that despite his viewpoint, he "never sought any benefit from reconciliation".
According to Geo News talk show host Shahzad Iqbal, trusted sources said that PML-N stalwart Khawaja Saad Rafique was also present in the meeting and said that if resistance as a strategy was adopted by the opposition, then the only one to benefit would be Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government.
He claimed that the government seeks to have the opposition "fight with state institutions".
When Shehbaz was asked how the government could have a such an aim when it was Nawaz himself who spoke out against the institutions, the PML-N president rejected the notion and said that the party supremo had only spoken in favour of the Constitution and the law. “Nawaz Sharif provided recommendations for the future of Pakistan. They must be taken into consideration.”
Referring to reports that Nawaz Sharif had prohibited party members from meeting military leadership and if it is absolutely necessary then only with express approval from him, Shehbaz clarified that Nawaz had simply said there is no harm in informing him if such a meeting is planned.
He reiterated that his politics is one of reconciliation, adding however that the decisions made during the multi-party conference still stand.
The PML-N leader said that both his party and the PPP are ready to resign from the assemblies should the time come for such a move to be necessary.
Shehbaz also spoke of the opposition's demand for re-elections, saying that all parties agree that there should be fresh, transparent polls.
He also said that no new elections must take place until the demand for "no interference" in the exercise is fulfilled.
Responding to a question on why the party thinks the prime minister seeks Shehbaz’s arrest, Rafique said that the premier “fears Shehbaz Sharif’s performance”.
The prime minister has rejected the opposition's demand for re-elections and instead said that he is ready to hold by-elections for seats that have fallen vacant. The premier said the opposition would fail to secure even one seat when this takes place.
PML-N's Rana Sanaullah was invited to speak on Shahzad Iqbal's show and when asked whether Shehbaz Sharif's statements today aimed at removing any bitterness that may have arisen between the opposition and the state institutions, Sanaullah remarked: "What bitterness?"
The PML-N leader said that the party supremo's address to the multi-party conference "made no mention of anything that everyone does not already agree on".
He said that Nawaz only spoke of the reasons "why Pakistan could not reach the heights it should have in the last 70 years".
Science minister Fawad Chaudhry, also invited to participate in the show, said that if there is a change within the party's stance and if they are letting go of their former "hawkish" policies, then he welcomes any such change.
He went on to say that the party, as an entity, "must distance itself from the Sharifs".
Chaudhry said that "owing to their sentiments being hurt" by Nawaz's speech, the party must "seriously consider" emerging as "a new party".
"PML-N is no doubt a loyal party that loves the country and will surely take that route now."
On the show host's inquiry of claims long been made by PTI members that the PML-N will soon "branch off", Chaudhry said that the government does not seek for opposition members to defect, and had instead called for an open vote in the upcoming Senate elections.