Conflict & Lack of Unity Among PDM Leaders: Is The End Near?

In an interview, Bilawal revealed that he was "shocked" after hearing Nawaz's speech during the first PDM rally in Gujranwala where he attacked the army.

During an interview with BBC Urdu, PPP’s Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari revealed that he was ‘shocked’ after hearing the PML-N supremo, Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the first Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rally which was held in Gujranwala

In October, Nawaz had addressed the PDM’s Gujranwala rally and accused the army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa for overthrowing his government and instating Imran Khan for the 2018 elections. “General Qamar Javed Bajwa, you packed up our government, which was working well, and put the nation and the country at the alter of your wishes”.

Nawaz had also talked about his ‘state above the state’ narrative that his daughter, Maryam Nawaz stated had been ‘proven’ through the Karachi incident. “The Karachi incident has made it clear that Nawaz Sharif’s stance — about ‘state above the state’ and Imran Khan being nothing more than a pawn — is correct. Nawaz Sharif only said it, you [Imran] proved it […] showed the nation what a state above the state is.”

Bilawal affirmed that neither Nawaz nor his party had brought up naming the army or ISI chiefs when the PDM’s agenda was being prepared. “During the all-parties conference, there was a debate on whether the blame should be laid on one institution or the entire establishment, it was decided that a single institution would not be named, the establishment would.”

“It was a shock for me because, typically, we don’t talk like this at rallies. But Nawaz heads his own party and I can’t control what he says, just like he can’t control what I say,” Bilawal said.

Moreover, Bilawal went ahead to reaffirm that the PDM’s agenda does involve attacking the military because that is not in relation to their demands. “Let me make this clear that this is not a part of our demands and does not reflect our position.”

Although Bilawal stated the aforementioned, he right after stated that the former premier would not have made such comments about the military without any evidence– hinting that Nawaz’s words had truth to them, consequently backing his accusations. “As far as taking the names of the COAS and the ISI chief is concerned, I think — and I am certain — that Nawaz will not have done so without any evidence. Such allegations should come forward on the basis of evidence.

“These are not the kind of allegations you make against anyone during a rally. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I have not had the opportunity to meet Nawaz in person, which is very important, so that we can discuss the matter in detail.”

However, Bilawal said, he will “wait for Nawaz to bring forward evidence supporting his claims”.

In accordance with this, shortly after the interview was published, Nawaz’s spokesperson Mohammad Zubair issued a statement saying, “This is Bilawal’s personal opinion. Nawaz has served as the country’s premier and there was a PML-N government even after his (Nawaz’s) ouster. What he (Nawaz) said at the Gujranwala rally comes from the experience of the PML-N government.”

“This is obvious that it did not happen with the PPP. We think it is important to inform the people about what happened to ensure civilian supremacy so that what happened in the past is not repeated in the future. What Nawaz said was based on facts,” Zubair continued.

This interview is fundamental and critical as it highlights a rift in the movement’s stance and also a lack of unity amongst the opposition leaders. Information Minister Shibli Faraz said that Bilawal’s statement was proof of the fact that the PDM was not united in their stance.

“Bilawal has voiced his distrust of Nawaz. This proves that the alliance of opposition parties in based on vested interests,” he said.

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