In the first concrete reconciliatory overture to its former ally the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Tuesday announced that it will withdraw its candidates from contesting elections for two Karachi-centric seats for the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly.
Addressing a joint press conference along with Governor Sindh Ishratul Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said the elections were a ‘bone of contention’ between the coalition partners.
“PPP extends it full support to the MQM in Azad Kashmir elections being held in LA-30 and LA-36,” Shah said, adding that he has informed the president of the decision to withdraw from the elections.
The elections, which were earlier postponed, purportedly in view of the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi, will now be held on Wednesday (today).
Following the postponement of the elections, the MQM parted ways with the government and decided to sit on the opposition benches.
MQM’s provincial governor, provincial and federal ministers tendered their resignations but the PPP persuaded its coalition partner to bring the governor back to his post.
The governor, during the press conference, said he had come back to his office on the directives of his leadership, ‘for the betterment of the province.’
PML-N wins LA-17
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s candidate Yasin Gulshin has won the election for the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly seat LA17.
Gulshin secured 16,769 votes followed by Pakistan Peoples Party’s Amjad Yousaf who bagged 14,596 votes. The ruling party, Muslim Conference’s Qayyum Naizi bagged 13,867 votes.
[With additional reporting by Roshan Mughal in Muzafferabad]
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2011.