Asif Ali Zardari proved to be very heavy on the PDM but Imran Khan’s government should not be too happy about the differences of the PDM. The PDM was never a major threat to Imran Khan, but he carried the opposition alliance on his head. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed benefited the most from the PDM.
On December 13, 2020, just a day before the PDM meeting in Lahore, Imran Khan nervously appointed Sheikh Rashid Ahmed as Home Minister. A few days passed and Imran Khan was seen sitting in the house of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, the greatest “politician” of Punjab, who went so far in the Senate elections that all the candidates of the government and the opposition became unopposed senators.
Among them was Kamil Ali Agha of the PML-Q. Kamil Ali Agha was not made a senator by Imran Khan but by PDM. Then came March 3, 2021. On that day, the joint PDM candidate Yousuf Raza Gilani defeated the government candidate Hafeez Sheikh.
Yousuf Raza Gilani actually won the PML-N votes and the PTI National Assembly members who were promised tickets by the PML-N in the next elections played a key role in his victory.
On Gilani’s victory, Maryam Nawaz rightly said that it was not money but our ticket that won the Senate election. March 3 was followed by March 12. Yousuf Raza Gilani was the PDM’s joint candidate for chairman Senate but lost by mistake of his party.
His defeat was clearly a mistake, but the defeat of PDM’s joint candidate for deputy chairman of the Senate, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, was not a mistake, but dishonesty and conscience were seen screaming and dancing. The PPP members had the justification for Gilani’s defeat but there was nothing but a smile on Haideri’s defeat. However, on March 14, Asif Ali Zardari called Nawaz Sharif and thanked him for supporting Yousuf Raza Gilani in the Senate election.
On March 15, Zardari was told that the PML-N wanted Azam Nazir Tarar to be the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and that Tarar was a lawyer for two police officers involved in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case. Zardari was not told that before the Senate election, the PPP had promised the PML-N that if Gilani were to contest the Senate election, the opposition leader in the Senate would be from the PML-N.
Mr Zardari sent a message to the PML-N that our party has high numbers in the Senate. Give us the post of Leader of the Opposition. In reply, he was told that our numbers in the National Assembly were high, we made your man a joint candidate and also promised a ticket of PML-N for the votes of the ruling party. It was also said that if you have an objection to Azam Nazir Tarar then Sadia Abbasi can be made the Leader of the Opposition but Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was adamant that the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate would be ours.
The PDM summit was held in Islamabad on March 16. After 12 noon, I asked Owais Noorani, the leader of JUP, a party in the PDM, if the PDM would break up today. He replied in the negative.
Noorani was asked this because he was very bitter with the PPP members in the last meeting of the PDM. I told him that there would be bitterness from the PPP today but Owais Noorani ignored my information. The same evening, a speech by Asif Ali Zardari made the internal differences of the PDM a topic of discussion in the streets. The speech did not mention Azam Nazir Tarar but only announced his resignation from the assemblies.
This announcement could have been made in soft words but perhaps Mr Zardari was told that it is necessary to talk to Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazlur Rehman in strong words because you are also sick but your name is on ECL and Nawaz Sharif’s name came out. Because their domicile is in Punjab. In his speech, Zardari also taunted the domicile and said that if we want resignations, Nawaz Sharif will have to come to Pakistan. Zardari said the same thing that Imran Khan does again and again.
Nine out of ten PDM parties sided with Nawaz Sharif on the occasion. In principle, the PPP should have accepted the decision of the majority or left the PDM, but the PPP asked for some time for consultation.
Now the situation is that the majority of PPP MPs are not happy with Mr Zardari’s speech but these poor people cannot speak. Many PML-N MPs have personally told me that insisting on resignations from the assemblies could be very detrimental as Imran Khan will make the parliament a rubber stamp but even these poor people cannot speak.
The same is true of the PTI. The majority of ruling party MPs are unhappy with the policies of their prime minister but do not even speak out, only voting for Yousuf Raza Gilani on the promise of a PML-N ticket.
Zardari’s “historic” speech at the PDM meeting has upset the ruling party’s MNAs who voted for Gilani on the promise of a PML-N ticket. In the future, these people will think ten times before betraying Imran Khan on the basis of their conscience.
Zardari’s speech paved the way for a no-confidence motion against Imran Khan, at least in the National Assembly It has become difficult because it will be very difficult to trust the next PPP. This does not mean that everything is good for Imran Khan. What Khan Sahib has messed with the Election Commission will cost him dearly.
What Mr Zardari did with the PDM on March 16 was not unexpected for me. What will happen to Imran Khan in the coming days will not be unexpected. On February 4, 2021, this insignificant person called Imran Khan and his opposition a mirage in his column titled “Ek Thi Tehreek-e-Insaf”.