Former prime minister (PM) and incumbent leader of the opposition in Senate, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said it was Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s decision to seek the support of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) lawmakers for his election to the post.
“They approached that we, a four-member group headed by Dilawar, want to join you. They didn’t approach me, they approached chairman sahib [Bilawal],” he said.
He made the revelation in an interview with a private media outlet, where he also said he was neither interested in the seat of the Senate chairmanship nor leader of the opposition, but it was Bilawal who made the decision.
His nomination for the slot and ultimate win despite joint opposition’s reservations is what is the latest and apparently the biggest bone of contention between the PPP and PDM so far.
Gilani, who was in a straight contest with PML-N candidate Azam Nazeer Tarar, had earlier denied using the votes of BAP senators, saying he had secured the seat with the support of 30 “opposition” senators.
These included 21 members from the PPP, two from the Awami National Party, one from the Jamaat-e-Islami, two independents from erstwhile Fata (Hidayatulla and Hilalur Rahman) and four from the independent group of Dilawar Khan, who had been supporting the PML-N in the past. Other members of the group include Kaira Babar, Naseebullah Bazai and Ahmad Khan.
Speaking in the programme on Monday, Gilani expressed support for the decision to secure votes from BAP senators and said they were disgruntled members who approached Bilawal for the post of leader of the opposition in the Senate.
“But what is wrong in taking their support?” he questioned.
Gilani further said that the PDM must stay intact but the decision to resign from assemblies had come out of the blue.
He questioned what would be the next move after the resignations came, adding that this was what the PPP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) would ask them.
Gilani’s son and PPP member Kasim Gilani, however, has lamented “spread of disinformation” regarding the interview.
Taking to Twitter he clarified his father’s statement.
Meanwhile, ANP has reportedly withdrawn from the PDM after show-cause notices were issued to the party to explain their actions during the recently-held Senate polls.
They had voted for Gilani in a move deemed betrayal by the opposition alliance but democratic right by the PPP and ANP.