ISLAMABAD: The Awami National Party (ANP), a political party from Pakistan’s northwest, announced on Tuesday it was leaving an alliance of opposition parties, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), in a major blow to a protest movement aimed at ousting the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
PDM was formed last September by major opposition parties to begin a nationwide agitation against the Khan government, which the opposition alliance accuses of coming to power through a rigged election. Khan and his government deny the charge.
ANP Senior vice president Amir Haider Khan Hoti said on Tuesday his party was leaving PDM, a day after the opposition alliance issued show-cause notices to the Pakistan People Party (PPP) and the ANP for not attending the alliance’s meeting last week.
“I withdraw myself from the PDM as its vice president, Mian Iftikhar withdraws himself as PDM’s spokesperson [and] Zahid Khan withdraws himself from the PDM as its deputy general secretary,” Hoti told the media.
Differences between the PPP and the PDM grew after PPP central leader Yousuf Raza Gillani secured the slot of the opposition leader in the upper house of the parliament with the help of members of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), which is a part of the ruling party alliance.
The PPP has also refused to resign from assemblies, after which the PDM was forced to announce that it was postponing a planned long march to the capital. Last month, the PDM had announced a long march to Islamabad on March 26 against the PM Khan-led government.
PDM president Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman and another key opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, have been insisting on mass resignations from assembles before the long march.