Old rivals to team up against ‘common foe’

Published: December 27, 2011

PPP and PML-N leaders said discussions were not focused on forging a formal electoral alliance, but reaching an understanding to support each other’s candidates in what they would present to the public as an anti-establishment force. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Alarmed by the growing popularity of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), two bitter rivals of the past have started warming up to each other.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif has conveyed to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leadership that his party will not obstruct the Senate election scheduled for March next year. As a quid pro quo, he demanded that the government announce fresh parliamentary elections immediately after the Senate polls.

Officials from both the PPP and PML-N told The Express Tribune that the two parties were readjusting their positions on the fluid political chessboard and might reach an understanding soon. They admitted that the ‘unmatched’ rise of the PTI was the trigger behind this.

Officials said Sharif’s message was delivered to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani by ‘top PML-N leaders’ a week ago. The prime minister then shared it with the PPP leadership at the meetings of its parliamentary party and core committee.

Both sides confirmed that they have negotiated in recent weeks, but did not say their talks were meant specifically to evolve a consensus on checking Imran Khan’s growing popularity.

“This is a proposal from Mian Sahib (Sharif) … but has never been a point of discussion for us,” said PPP Information Secretary Qamar Zaman Kaira. “Let’s see what happens,” was his answer when asked whether Khan’s gains could draw the two parties closer to each other.

A spokesman for Sharif’s party said things “might change, as they always can in politics”, but refused to comment on whether the PML-N had formally conveyed to the government its support for the Senate elections.

Insiders from both sides said Sharif’s message to the government was very clear. “The establishment is behind Khan. If we continue to fight each other, we will be the losers in the end. We are the target of the establishment,” an associate quoted Sharif as telling the PPP leadership in the message sent through interlocutors.

A PPP leader, who wished not to be named, put the development in these words: “Many changes are in the offing and what may soon emerge is an understanding among all mainstream leaders to fight it out together.”

PPP and PML-N leaders said discussions were not focused on forging a formal electoral alliance, but reaching an understanding to support each other’s candidates in what they would present to the public as an anti-establishment force. They said there had been no discussion about any potential power-sharing formula after the elections.

“At the moment, the most important thing is to foil the establishment’s designs to make us irrelevant … we won’t let this happen,” said a PML-N leader, confirming secret negotiations aimed at countering PTI’s growing popularity.

He said the party’s top leaders had been thinking of resigning to dislodge the government and seek fresh polls, but not anymore. He said the party had decided not to block the Senate polls that are expected to give the PPP a numerical strength in the upper house close to a simple majority.

“We think we are up against a bigger evil… and to counter that we have to tolerate a smaller one,” the party insider said.

In return, both the PPP and PML-N members added, the government might announce snap polls some time after presenting next year’s budget in June 2012.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2011.

Reader Comments (54)

  • Tariq
    Dec 27, 2011 - 6:16AM

    What a shock, bunch of incompetent pols togeather again, like if they ever left

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  • Sheryar Farooqui
    Dec 27, 2011 - 6:23AM

    Lolz, IK had predicted this. Why don’t you please just say that you want to protect your business of corruption and sucking the common’s man blood. My leader was right when he said you guys are one, as you were before the 30th oct jalsa but a few months of drama and now PML-N have taken a U-turn again. Thank you for this as this will further expose these status quo corrupt parties. You guys team up against common foe and ppl will use their common sense.

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  • Patriotic
    Dec 27, 2011 - 6:23AM

    Oh please let PTI have a chance. Both the PPP and PML(N) have failed miserably in improving Pakistan’s economy and reputation. Just let better people have a chance!

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  • Saim Baig
    Dec 27, 2011 - 6:59AM

    Imran Khan was right about friendly opposition!!!

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  • codename.trailblazer
    Dec 27, 2011 - 7:08AM

    The title is enough to understand the piece is written on a wishful thinking basis.These politicians have lost moral support of the people.

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  • A Shahid
    Dec 27, 2011 - 7:11AM

    LOL!!!…The status quo parties are banding together. A long predicted outcome by IK. This is the second NRO in the offing.

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  • Dec 27, 2011 - 7:17AM

    Sharif to Team-up with Zardari against PTI… hmmm…. And what about some movement called “Go Zardari Go” launched some weeks back.
    So IMRAN KHAN is right i.e. YOU SCRATCH MY BACK, I SCRATCH YOURS…..
    Interesting…..Recommend

  • Ghulam Mustafa
    Dec 27, 2011 - 7:20AM

    This would be the most stupid thing to do. It would give credibility to Khan’s claim that the two parties are actually one. Let things remain the way they are, and PTI shall fizzle out. It wont be easy for PTI to maintain this tempo for a year.

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  • Dec 27, 2011 - 7:26AM

    Imran Khan was correct.. Recommend

  • Farooq
    Dec 27, 2011 - 7:34AM

    Khan always says these two parties are the same internal they are brothers to each other but in the public they show hostility . But this time people knows every things.

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  • Mard-e-Haq
    Dec 27, 2011 - 7:46AM

    A unnatural marriage of convenience!!! It won’t be long before one turns on the other; while the other tries to join PTI.

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  • Faraz
    Dec 27, 2011 - 7:47AM

    IK was right. It is going to be PTI vs. the status quo.Recommend

  • MarkH
    Dec 27, 2011 - 7:49AM

    “They admitted that the ‘unmatched’ rise of the PTI was the trigger behind this.”
    Really? That doesn’t sound like something any politician that is competition would say publicly.

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  • Kasif
    Dec 27, 2011 - 7:55AM

    They can’t be in their right mind to do this, if they do this, PTI’s election sweep is going to be a reality.

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  • Rizwan
    Dec 27, 2011 - 8:03AM

    IK had predicted exactly such an alliance a few months ago in an interview with Nasim Zehra, if I recall correctly. It shows he has some political acumen. For those who are sick of both PPP and PML-N, this should make a vote for the PTI even easier:)

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  • ali
    Dec 27, 2011 - 8:58AM

    Imran Khan is right when he says PMLN will never resign

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  • Dec 27, 2011 - 8:59AM

    PPP and the PML-N have No other option except to be welded each other by the fear of growing popularity of Imran Khan who is being considered first and the last hope for oppressed and exploited masses of Pakistan starving to death,whose blood is being sucked for the last 64 years.Both the main stream political parties PPP and PML-N been absolutely failed to demonstrate and delivered in accordance to the will and the sentiments of masses during their respective Tenures including Military regimes.That’s why masses are seemed to be changed their direction towards Imran Khan with new hopes and expectations.

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  • Ch Allah Daad
    Dec 27, 2011 - 9:18AM

    PML(N)’s demand of fresh mandate after Senate election is a win win situation for everyone. We can get rid of this government one year before. Its hard to undestand why some parties run away from elections. Its a great opportunity for PTI to show their strength.

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  • Dec 27, 2011 - 9:48AM

    good news for Pakistan…..zahmat vicj rahmat

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  • imran
    Dec 27, 2011 - 10:04AM

    very sad, only Imran deserve for new government. Good Luck Imran, I am with you.

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  • dar
    Dec 27, 2011 - 10:21AM

    I will not be surprised if an pre-election alliance is forged between PPP and PML(N) to confront TI.

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Dec 27, 2011 - 10:39AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.In every condition Pakistani nation is being fooled and deceived by in-government and on opposition benches political parties and this is true that due to in-government’s and opposition political parties’ like such these hypocritical moves in-government and opposition political parties are loosing their credibility,trustworthiness and popularity in Pakistani nation’s heart and this is why in the Pakistani youth Imran Khan is being famed because Imran Khan is and seems sincere,honest and dedicated with Pakistan and its nation.

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  • Dec 27, 2011 - 10:54AM

    It is never too late to wake up to the realities on the ground.

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  • MAD
    Dec 27, 2011 - 11:01AM

    PPP & PML-N in alliance. I never thought i would live to see the day. BTW this will mean an early death for PMLN and PPP getting a huge whalloping.

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  • KiJ
    Dec 27, 2011 - 11:08AM

    Taking turns, as articulated by IK….

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  • Kafka
    Dec 27, 2011 - 11:19AM

    If PMLN and PPP join hands, it will only weaken PMLN’s position which was always regarded as a friendly opposition.People will be further pushed towards PTI, thinking that PMLN and PPP are the different sides of the same coin.And that exactly is what Imran Khan has been telling people.

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  • Azam Khan
    Dec 27, 2011 - 11:55AM

    Since Imran Khan had predicted such a collusion of PPP & PMLN some time ago, his critics can now say that “the agencies had given him the info!”
    @MarkH
    If you read the article again, “They admitted that…..” is not a direct quote; it just conveys the thoughts of unnamed PPP and PML ‘officials’ on the subject. This position was apparent when the two parties were reported to be in talks to support Mr. Gilani’s son against Shah Mehmood Qureishi in the upcoming by-elections for his vacated Multan NA seat

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  • Rehana Batool
    Dec 27, 2011 - 11:56AM

    Interesting development. It only goes to prove a point Imran Khan has been making of late that ultimately the Sharifs and Zardaris would team up to protect their vested interests from being threatened from a potent anti-status quo force emerging and surging in the form of PTI’s Tsunami

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  • MAK009x
    Dec 27, 2011 - 12:08PM

    This was bound to happen, as was predicted by Imran Khan. But this will only strengthen PTI’s position furtherRecommend

  • Shahzaib Aziz
    Dec 27, 2011 - 12:21PM

    As Imran Khan believes Allama Iqbal to be his ideological leader, Qaid-e-Azam as his political leader and Z.A Bhutto is one from whose speeches and commitment to bring in change is inspired of. Although Imran khan pretend to bring in change as Z.A Bhutto did in his time but there is lot more to be done. He has to change the mind set of people in urban areas where there is dominance of elites. Urban areas specially interior Sindh where people still aren’t awaken. Holding rallies and protests in large cities may help attract portion of the people but still wast population in villages and urban areas are neglected. Recommend

  • NB73
    Dec 27, 2011 - 12:34PM

    So am I right in assuming that since MQM is quiet on all of this, PPP and PMLN believe that MQM also has the establishment support? Hmmmmm…….

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  • Ghaznavi
    Dec 27, 2011 - 12:59PM

    Just what Imran Khan said. Both parties PMLN and PPP are infact one party. The ‘eye wash’ is to fool the public to believe they have different agendas. Their only agenda is to gain power, make more money and then with more money gain more power… the cycle goes on. Now PTI will break this vicious cycle.

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  • Dec 27, 2011 - 1:10PM

    Lolzzz….This was destined to happen. I was waiting impatiently for this move. lets pray that they form an alliance. Its for the betterment of Pakistan ;)

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  • Malik
    Dec 27, 2011 - 1:11PM

    PTI fans are criticizing the move regardless of the fact that its is beneficial for them to have some time to prepare for election.

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  • sohail
    Dec 27, 2011 - 1:26PM

    Let wait & see how many surprises are waiting for us in coming months,,,,

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  • Sam
    Dec 27, 2011 - 1:57PM

    Imran Khan said, even if all the parties are united together they cannot stop IK’s tusnami from sweeping the elections and reaching to the parliament with people’s mandate. Just wait and watch brothers!!! I am hoping to see the nation standing united to counter this bunch of crooks.

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  • Zeeshan
    Dec 27, 2011 - 2:29PM

    This was bound to happen!

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  • Ali
    Dec 27, 2011 - 2:34PM

    Wow..Imran has been saying this since long that both (PPP and PMLN) are same and their fight is only a mock (noora kushti). He also said both parties will join hands once public rise against status quo. How right he was!

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  • Dec 27, 2011 - 2:35PM

    @Sheryar Farooqui:Pakistan needs more people like you. PTI zindabad!

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 27, 2011 - 2:57PM

    what about Imran Khan and Musharaf deal……. Lets see…….

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 27, 2011 - 3:06PM

    @sohail:
    …….Musharaf as President and Khan as PM……..Bcaz almost same team developed by……… and Imran Khan.

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  • Lobster
    Dec 27, 2011 - 3:14PM

    PPP is already set to washed out, PML-N still have the chance, but if the make alliance with PPP, it will be even more advantageous to PTI.

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  • International Spectator
    Dec 27, 2011 - 3:38PM

    IK is peaking too early. electiona are more than a year away.people will lose all the initial enthusiasm over next 4 seasons. More controversies and deep stresses will happen in socity and politics. So IK is better advised to not ” run himself out” !!
    Though IK is gertting the attention of a very frustrated youth, he must have good ideas and people to meet such high expectations. Alas he is no Benazir..

    Recommend

  • Basil
    Dec 27, 2011 - 4:10PM

    MQM and PTI should form an alliance now!

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  • LoveUPakistan
    Dec 27, 2011 - 7:54PM

    What a dirty politics.!!!!! IK was absolutely RiGhT

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  • someone
    Dec 27, 2011 - 7:57PM

    Why dont I see comments from the so called liberals who were supporting this status quo??

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  • Javed Latef
    Dec 27, 2011 - 8:38PM

    PML-N was responsible for bringing present kleptocratic government into power and keeping it there. Now it wants to ensure that this regime stays in power for another five years hoping itself to keep power only in Punjab. Where are the high principles they talk about? Where is their disgust for the corruption in this government?

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 27, 2011 - 11:02PM

    Imran khan has scared ppp and pmln..lol….may Imran khan b succesful..Recommend

  • Z Khan
    Dec 28, 2011 - 2:27AM

    I wish that happens so that the people of Pakistan can see the real faces of these leeches who have been sucking the blood of this poor nation for over three decades.IK has predicted that these status quo parties will come together to form a joint alliance to safeguard their personal empires and thats precisely whats happening right in front of our eyes.this news has further strengthened our resolve to vote for PTI.

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  • Iftikhar
    Dec 28, 2011 - 4:41PM

    Yes, all the third rate people and parties will join hands to block the honest, sincere and dedicated party and people.

    Corrupt versus Honest…..the fight is on.

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  • Imran R
    Dec 28, 2011 - 8:47PM

    It’s like watching a Hollywood movie two bad party’s PPP & PML-N joinin forces, against the good guy Imran Khan. But we all no the good guy always wins at the end.Inshallah

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  • Asif Ahmad
    Dec 28, 2011 - 8:53PM

    This alliance is another maneuver to protect their interest that is to remain in power for good.

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  • Dr naeem
    Dec 28, 2011 - 10:30PM

    this the scene at fall of 9th wicket,when batsman is under pressure and the both are in fear of being bold at one ball

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  • Manny Hussain
    Dec 29, 2011 - 12:12AM

    Hope lives on… welcome to the TSUNAMI effect. It is quite clear in Pakistan people have begun to realise enough is enough. No electricity, No Gas, high Petrol Prices, extortionate Inflation, Debt, Defunct currency, Killings everyday, and lies on top of lies….. Enough! Give change a chance

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