Moonis meets Bilawal ahead of president’s address to parliament – Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: In a significant political development, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader and federal Minister for Water Resources Chaudhry Moonis Elahi on Sunday called on Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at the latter’s residence known as Zardari House.

The meeting between the two young leaders of the past allies acquired more importance as it took place a day before the president’s address to a joint sitting of parliament.

The component parties of the opposition Pakistan Democratic Move­ment (PDM), including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), have already announced that they would boycott the presidential address and join the protest camp set up by journalists outside the Parliament House against the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA), whereas the PPP has so far not come out with a clear strategy.

Overall political situation comes under discussion

The PPP Media Office issued a brief statement after the meeting, stating that the two leaders “discussed the overall political situation in the country”.

Mr Elahi is the son of Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi and has recently been inducted into the federal cabinet as minister for water resources.

The PPP statement said the two leaders also discussed issues relating to water distribution among the provinces and historic water shortage in Sindh.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari also inquired about the health of Mr Elahi’s uncle and party president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar was also present during the meeting.

The meeting took place hours after the PPP chairman arrived in Islamabad following a week-long visit to south Punjab where he addressed a number of political gatherings and met the local leadership.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari has been pressing the other opposition parties that they should table a no-confidence motion against Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, believing that the PML-Q could support the move through a political bargain. On the other hand, the PML-N and other opposition parties in the PDM are against the idea as they believe that it will not work.

The PPP and the Awami National Party quit the PDM in March this year on the proposals of no-confidence motion and en masse resignations from the legislatures and later due to differences over the nomination of Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani as the opposition leader in the Senate.

Speaking at a workers’ convention in Rahim Yar Khan last week, Mr Bhutto-Zardari had again lashed out at the PML-N for not supporting his proposal of moving a no-confidence motion against Mr Buzdar and accu­sed it of doing politics of “hypocrisy”.

In an apparent reference to the PML-N, the PPP chairman said the parties that raised the slogan ‘vote ko izzat do’ (respect the vote) should use their votes to dislodge Mr Buzdar from the office of chief minister.

He said if the opposition parties did nothing against the Buzdar government, it would prove that “their politics is neither of resistance nor of reconciliation, but of hypocrisy”.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2021

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