ANP, QWP oppose PM’s immediate resignation demand

| PPP, PTI, others say Sharif has no right to stay after JIT report | All agree assemblies should complete term

ISLAMABAD - The Awami National Party and the Qaumi Wattan Party yesterday asked the other opposition parties not to press for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation and wait for the court verdict in the Panama leaks case.

At a meeting of the opposition parliamentary parties here, all the parties agreed that the assemblies should stay for the continuity of the democratic system.

But on the question of PM’s resignation, ANP and QWP differed with the PPP and PTI-led opposition bloc which is exerting pressure on Nawaz to quit in the backdrop of the Joint Investigation Team report.

The JIT report found “glaring disparities” between the Sharif family’s known sources of income and their actual wealth. Immediately after the submission of the JIT report, PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and PTI leader Imran Khan called for the PM’s resignation.

Prime Minister Sharif has, however, said that he would neither quit nor dissolve the National Assembly as he had done ‘nothing wrong’ and would not succumb to the pressure. He also branded the opposition parties as ‘defeatist elements’ who had been rejected by the people in the elections.

Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khurshid Shah had summoned the meeting of the parliamentary leaders of the opposition parties yesterday to finalise strategy against the government.

The parliamentary party leaders of the PTI, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam), the ANP, the QWP, the Awami Muslim League and the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas group were invited to the meeting.

During the meeting, PPP and PTI sought opinion of the other parties on the Panama leaks issue. All the parties agreed that PM Sharif should quit immediately, except ANP and QWP who said the PM had not been convicted yet so there was no point in demanding his resignation.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Khurshid Shah said PM Sharif had promised to quit if he was found guilty of any wrongdoing. “Now the JIT report has exposed him. There is no reason left for him to stay in power,” he argued.

He said, “The ANP and the QWP have shown their reservations on the resignation issue. We all agreed that the assemblies should continue and complete the five-year term.”

Shah said the opposition parties were not against the democratic process and only wanted the guilty people to be punished. “We are only calling for the PM’s resignation. The assemblies should not be touched,” he added.

PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, “All the opposition parties are unanimous that the system should stay. We are not in favour of derailing democracy.”

He said the PM’s rigidity will be harmful for democracy, and expressed fears that Nawaz Sharif could confront the institutions which “will be a misadventure”.

Qureshi claimed Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan were against Sharif’s politics of confrontation.

QWP chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said his party and the ANP wanted to wait for the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Panama leaks.

“We agree with the other parties on all the issues but before demanding the resignation, we should wait for the court order. We also support the Supreme Court and other national institutions,” he said.

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq said the PM had been badly exposed by the JIT so he should quit without any delay. “The patient (PM Sharif) is very ill. He should be sent home immediately,” he added.

MQM-P’s Farooq Sattar said the accountability system should be strengthened in the country.

AML leader Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the opposition should stop acknowledging Sharif as the Leader of the House in the National Assembly.

Other than the above mentioned leaders, those who attended the meeting included PPP's Aitezaz Ahsan and Sherry Rehman, PTI's Shireen Mazari, PML-Q’s Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and ANP’s Ghulam Ahmed Bilour.

ANP, QWP oppose PM’s immediate resignation demand

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