Strategising for elections: PML-N keeping arms open for grand alliance

Published: May 19, 2012

Nawaz Sharif said that the PML-N would contact all groups for a grand alliance. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has been keeping the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on its toes with its recent anti- government campaign – and it’s planning to extend its strategy to the upcoming elections with ongoing efforts for a grand alliance.

The main opposition party is still keeping communication lines open with fellow opposition parties, including the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), as well as government allies, in line with its strategy.

“Yes, we are reaching out to opposition parties as well as allies of the ruling PPP,” PML-N Deputy Information Secretary Khurram Dastgir Khan said while talking to The Express Tribune.

Dastgir said officials from his party were engaged in talks with other parties, but added that the process had not reached the level of formal talks yet.

“If informal contact produces some results, we will gradually move towards formal ones,” he added. The parliamentarian from Gujranwala said that his party was also in touch with some of the government allies.

Earlier this month, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, after the Supreme Court’s decision to convict Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in the contempt case, had announced that the party will approach other parties to build up pressure on the government through a grand alliance. In this regard, the PML-N forged an alliance with a breakaway faction of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) called ‘Likeminded’ – headed by Salim Saifullah Khan and Hamid Nasir Chattha.

The PML-N has also allied itself with former Sindh Chief Minister Mumtaz Ali Bhutto’s Sindh National Front (SNF).

The Likeminded involves a deal with the PML-N, where the latter had pledged 11% of the seats in the National Assembly. Mumtaz Bhutto had merged SNF with the N-league.

Speaking in Lahore last week, Nawaz said that the PML-N would contact all groups for a grand alliance, even the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

In response, the MQM had hinted at entering into talks with the PML-N, saying “it (MQM) never closes doors for negotiations.”

Imran Khan’s PTI has also launched an anti-government movement, and following the PML-N’s open invite, it demanded mass resignations from assemblies as a prerequisite for negotiations with the party.

When asked about the status of talks between the PML-N and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the deputy information secretary of the PML-N said “yes, we are in contact and talks are in their initial stages.”

The contacts between the two were also confirmed by JI Secretary General Liaquat Baloch.

PTI and JI both boycotted the 2008 elections and have no presence in any of the assemblies currently.

According to a top official of the party, Sharif has made an offer to Imran Khan, saying that his party will resign from the assemblies at the “appropriate time”.

Such grand alliances have previously shown a fair amount of success. The Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) of the late ‘70s helped topple Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) shook the military ruler General Ziaul Haq in the 80s, while the notorious Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) of the early ‘90s played a big part in seeing Benazir Bhutto’s first government out of office, and then defeating it in the polls.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2012.

Reader Comments (17)

  • Asif khan
    May 19, 2012 - 10:39AM

    Nawaz bid to get some support from others but has no plan for betterment. He couldn’t muster enough support during last few attempts due to lack of credibility. We didn’t see his role as a leader of opposition party. Our kind request to him is to resign his leadership role and give opportunity to new blood. This will give some life to dying party.

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  • abdul jabbar
    May 19, 2012 - 10:45AM

    But lately JUI F has sided with PPP for election of chairman for election commission. Nawaz efforts are producing results in sind.

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  • Wasim
    May 19, 2012 - 11:13AM

    Keep dreaming

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  • Wasim
    May 19, 2012 - 11:14AM

    Gone r those days

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  • Danali
    May 19, 2012 - 11:18AM

    @Wasim: That is how you start, by dreaming! :)

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  • Iram
    May 19, 2012 - 12:21PM

    PTI will not joins hands with PMLN.

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  • Logic Europe
    May 19, 2012 - 12:24PM

    THE only faction he has not contacted Iis Musharaf ,in his greed to get power,he should beg Musharaaf as he may be worth a few votes

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  • Zamir Malik
    May 19, 2012 - 12:37PM

    @Asif khan:
    What lack of credibility you are talking about.??? Well whatever Nawaz will do he will be portrayed as a Devil. What credibility does JUI and PPP have who sided with each other in elections and in recent chairman selection of election commission. The point is that sometimes you hate people out of personal enmity and their belonging from a certain region and that is what is happening here. PTI is mum on the Issue of Railways and Imran Khan never criticized ANP and he himself and his naive supporters are targetting PMLN only. May be Supporters of PMLN are non Aryan Blood while Mr Imran Cannot complain about his fellows of ANP as they are Pure Aryan race like he is

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  • Azmat Ali
    May 19, 2012 - 1:19PM

    This is good move to form an alliance for the betterment of Pakistan which is acceptable to masses.

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  • Disco
    May 19, 2012 - 1:38PM

    But….what about the people?

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  • Sudhir
    May 19, 2012 - 1:56PM

    It is too late now. PML(N) has already lost the vital time and with that its credibility too.

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  • revo
    May 19, 2012 - 2:11PM

    After enjoying 5 years of government and Blaming other parties
    “Asooloun ki siasat” will ends before election :S

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  • ASADMALIK
    May 19, 2012 - 3:07PM

    “Actions speak louder than words”, PML(N) have lost advantage by sticking to assemblies.They dont want to lose thier share in interim set up. “A POLITICS OF FEAR” .The label of “friendly opposition” is causing anxiety among loyal party workers. “A real thraet to their political future.”

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  • Syéd
    May 19, 2012 - 6:45PM

    Next prime minister is nawaz sharif express akways talk negitive about pmln why?

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  • Aamer Khawaja
    May 19, 2012 - 7:32PM

    @Logic Europe:
    A few votes? how many exactly, 3 or 4?

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  • Khawar Ali Siddiqui
    May 19, 2012 - 7:51PM

    Too bad Zardari has already got most of them and the remaining sit cosy with PTI.

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  • ather khan
    May 20, 2012 - 12:18AM

    unity is the need of the time. i don’t want to see ppp govt topple undemocratically. but i think a strong united opposition can make up pressure on ppp to straight it.

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