The countdown begins
Most PPP leaders prefer Opp benches
By Mubasher Bukhari
LAHORE: A majority of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) Central Executive Committee and Federal Council members advised Benazir Bhutto on Thursday to opt for the opposition benches at a meeting in the federal capitol on Thursday.
According to sources, Ms Bhutto also hinted that she was prepared to go for the opposition. “She told the meeting that she would review their opinion and would make a decision within 24 hours,” added a source.
Addressing the meeting via telephone, Ms Bhutto revealed that the government was willing to allow the PPPP into power, besides accepting a few PPPP demands, and sought the opinion of the participants.
Sources, who were present at the meeting, told Daily Times that the majority of the participants opined that forming the government under President Pervez Musharraf would damage the image of the PPPP. They were unanimous on the point that the PPPP would lose its credibility if it joined hands with the regime.
Sources say that Acting Secretary General of the PPPP Mian Raza Rabbani, Secretary General of the PPPP Federal Council Khalid Ahmad Khan Kharal, President PPPP NWFP Khawaja Khan Muhammad Hoti, President Sindh Nisar Khoro, President Punjab Qasim Zia and other PPPP stalwarts including Khurshid Shah, Safdar Abbasi, Aftab Shaban Mirani and Shah Mehmood Qureshi preferred to sit in the opposition.
However, President of PPPP Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat and a couple of other members supported the idea of forming the government. They urged Ms Bhutto to accept the government’s offer and to allow the party to form the government. They said the regime had only 24 hours to change Ms Bhutto’s mind otherwise the next government would have to face a strong PPPP opposition.
Acting Secretary General of the PPP Raza Rabbani while talking to Daily Times, said that due to ideological differences with the two other major parliamentary groups, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal and Pakistan Muslim League (QA), the chances of forming a government with either of them are very low and the PPPP was ready to sit in opposition. President PPPP Punjab Qasim Zia said, “We will prefer to sit on the opposition benches.” Replying to a question about Benazir’s expected decision, he said, “She would also opt for the opposition.”