PML-N open to new electoral alliances

LAHORE:

With the PPP officially dropping hints about the possibility of forging alliances against the PML-N, the latter also claims to be open to the possibility of forging alliances in Sindh and elsewhere to increase its chances of success in the upcoming general elections scheduled for February 8 next year.

PML-N leader and former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair said the PML-N will field candidates throughout the country. “However, in areas where our presence is weak, we will make alliances, seat adjustments, or understanding,” he said.

He mentioned that in Sindh province, the party will also focus on urban areas, especially in Karachi, where they want to field a maximum number of candidates. Regarding the PPP forging alliances against the PML-N, he said his party is also open to alliances in Sindh with the GDA and the MQM.

“A decision in this regard will, however, be taken by the party leadership,” he added.

This week, PPP Central Punjab Acting President Rana Farooq Saeed had formally announced that the PPP might consider an electoral alliance with the beleaguered PTI in order to counter the PML-N in Punjab. Some party leaders were quick to downplay this statement, claiming that it was not the PPP’s official position.

However, on Friday, while responding to a question regarding the possibility of an alliance with the PTI, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stated that they had not made any decision in this regard. He also invited the PTI to become a signatory to the Charter of Democracy.

The party chairman’s stance was not what party insiders had claimed regarding the party’s policy. In fact, many saw Bilawal’s stance as a veiled endorsement of Rana Farooq Saeed’s position.

However, even after Bilawal’s media talk, some party leaders stuck to their claim that the PPP would not consider any alliance with the PTI.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a party leader said on condition of anonymity that PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had directed party leadership to rebuff this impression that the PPP was considering any alliance with the PTI.

He said according to their reading, PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif was not completely out of the woods, which is why it was ideal for them to tread cautiously. “To my knowledge, the party has communicated to the acting president of Central Punjab to be more careful in the future.”

The leader said after the arrest of PTI former leader Fawad Chaudary, it had become abundantly clear to the PTI folks that they would not be allowed to contest elections, and that they would invite the wrath of the powers that be if they contested elections by any chance.

“The PPP will want to reap the benefits of this by opening its doors to former PTI leaders in Punjab.”

Talking to The Express Tribune, PPP Central Punjab Acting President Rana Farooq Saeed said his statement was taken out of context.

He said to a question, he had said that they would consider forging an alliance. “I was then asked if we could consider forging an alliance with the PTI, and I replied that we might consider forging an alliance with those who have mended their ways in the PTI.”

He said all this was not the party’s position and was, in fact, his personal opinion.

When asked if Zardari had instructed party leaders to reject this impression, he said this was a petty issue. “Zardari sahib and the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) are the ones entitled to make the party policies,” he added.


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