KARACHI: With general elections approaching, political parties and individuals with political standing have already started forming alliances with their ideological counterparts.
Nonetheless, in a development that could have appreciable effects on politics in Sindh, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s Sindh chief and federal minister for privatisation Ghous Bux Mahar and other PML-Q leaders reportedly decided to form an electoral alliance with the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional on Monday.
Ghous Bux Mahar was joined by provincial minister for tourism, Mohammad Ali Malkani, Thatta’s Eijaz Shah Sherazi, Ghotki’s Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar, former Sukkur district nazim Nasir Shah, National Peoples Party’s Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi at a meeting with PML-F chief Pir Pagara Syed Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi at Raja House.
However, while talking to The Express Tribune, Ghous Bux Mahar denied that his party had made any alliance with the PML-F. “Our party and PML-F are already coalition partners of the Pakistan Peoples Party. Pir Sabib had invited us to lunch and we discussed the political situation in the country,” said Mahar.
Nasir Shah, on the other hand, claimed that the agenda of the meeting was not only to make an alliance, but to also pursue other parties and groups to join them. “We have been negotiating with Pir Pagara for a few months. We reached an agreement to form the alliance, but more meetings are needed so that any further line of action could be clarified.” The leaders also criticised the attacks on Awami Tahreek rally in Karachi on May 22 and on a bus in Shaheed Benazirabad on May 25.
“It has in principle been decided that we will jointly contest the elections and help each other’s candidates and negotiate with [other] political parties to form the future government,” said a senior PML-F leader, adding that his party would soon formalise its alliance with other parties.
The National Peoples Party chief Masroor Jatoi had already announced that his party would join an alliance with the PML-F, while former Punjab chief minister Ghulam Mustafa Khar also joined the PML-F.
PML-Q Sindh secretary general Haleem Adil Shaikh said that his party had already announced that it would form an alliance with the PPP during the upcoming elections. He clarified that Sherazi and Ghous Bux Mahar’s decisions did not represent their party’s policy. “They are enjoying ministerial status in the incumbent government, and have not publicly announced their decision.”
However, sources privy to the development said that during the meeting, Pir Pagara emphasised Ghous Bux Mahar and Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar either join the PML-F or the NPP. “Do not believe in the Chaudhries of Gujrat. You should now join us,” he reportedly told the federal minister.
Adviser to the Sindh chief minister and PML-F leader Imtiaz Shaikh said that other parties in the province were also negotiating with them. The PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had approached the Mahar brothers too.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2012.