LAHORE: The PML-N has reacted strongly to the PPP's move to secure the Senate Opposition leader slot, saying it is a setback for the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
Addressing media outside Jati Umra and flanked by PML-N leaders Rana Sanaullah and Azam Nazeer Tarar, Iqbal said the alliance was hurt by the PPP's move to secure the support of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) senators.
"If the Balochistan Awami Party senators have been included to attain the post of the leader of the Opposition in Senate, then indeed PDM's objectives, its struggle and the Opposition alliance have suffered a setback," said the former interior minister.
Referring to the BAP senators, Iqbal said "the entire Islamabad knows on whose directions they vote". Referring to it as a "suspicious transaction" he said such a move was not in line with the PDM's transparent politics.
"If this slot [leader of the Opposition] was so necessary for the PPP, the party should have informed Nawaz Sharif about it. He would have happily ceded the post to them," said the PML-N leader.
Iqbal condemned the PPP for seeking support from the BAP without informing the PDM, adding that such a move has delivered a blow to the Opposition alliance.
In response to a question, former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah said the party will take up the PPP's recent move in the upcoming session of the PDM's meeting.
Iqbal said all Opposition parties had expressed their support for the PML-N's Azam Nazeer Tarrar for the post of Senate Opposition leader. "JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Hasil Bizenjo's National Party, Akhtar Mengal, Mahmood Khan Achakzai and other leaders as well supported him [Azam Nazeer Tarar]," he said.
The PML-N stalwart said the party was hurt that the Awami National Party (ANP), which is part of the PDM, took the 'unilateral decision' to support the PPP's bid for the Senate Opposition leader slot.
In response to a question, the PML-N said the PDM will not be affected by the exclusion of one or two political parties. He said the alliance represented the aspirations of 220 million Pakistanis, adding that it will continue to perform its role in the future as well.
"The PDM is lethal and our manifesto yet remains alive," he said. "Whoever betrays the PDM's objectives will pay a heavy price," added the former minister in a veiled warning to the PPP.
PPP files request for Senate Opposition leader slot
The strong reaction from the PML-N leadership came a few minutes after former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani filed nomination papers for the post of Senate Opposition leader.
According to a report on Geo News, Gillani had filed for nomination with the support of 30 Opposition senators for the post, pulling a surprise coup that has upset the other main opposition party, the PML-N.
Talking to media after submitting the request, Senator Sherry Rehman said the PPP's request contained the signatures of 21 senators from the party, two from the ANP, one from the Jamat-e-Islami, two from erstwhile Fata and four members of the upper house belonging to an independent group headed by Senator Dilawar Khan.