Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has constituted a committee which will meet a Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) delegation in Islamabad today, with the two set to discuss a possible electoral alliance and the political scenario pre and post general elections, sources in the PML-N told The Express Tribune.
Nawaz, who presided over a high level PML-N meeting in Murree on Monday, held talks with its senior leadership, following which he formed a three-member committee to hold talks with the MQM delegation.
Senator Ishaq Dar will head the PML-N’s committee, which also comprises Senator Pervez Rashid and MNA Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi.
According to an MQM official, MNA Farooq Sattar and Senator Babar Ghauri are the members of MQM’s delegation at present. However, he refused to divulge any information of what the meeting will be about.
According to reliable sources in the PML-N, Nawaz was informed by the party’s senior leadership that the MQM was willing to discuss key issues with them at the leadership level.
When Nawaz asked the senior party leadership about the agenda and purpose of their meeting, Senator Dar replied that the MQM wanted to develop a mutually beneficial understanding, vis-a-vis the ongoing political issues between the two parties, to discuss the political scenario before and after the elections and a possible electoral alliance, sources said.
Senator Dar added that Altaf Hussain’s party had approached the PML-N in July to have a meeting with Nawaz, but at the time, he was unavailable to meet them. Sources also said Senator Dar informed him MQM was also willing to discuss and negotiate with the PML-N on any possible electoral alliances.
Sources said that keeping in view MQM being an ally of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led coalition government, Nawaz directed the committee to talk to their counterparts with an open heart to discuss a pre and post election alliance.
According to the sources, PML-N’s committee will ask the MQM delegation to get the party to press the PPP for a smooth political transition from the current government to the next after the general elections. They confirmed that if the meeting is fruitful, then Nawaz will himself hold talks with MQM’s delegation. They also said that on one hand, MQM was willing to soften its stance towards PML-N, but at the same time it wanted to convey a strong message to the PPP about its future course of strategy with other political parties, in order to gain more benefits from the federal government.
It is pertinent to mention that in July, MQM had announced a planned roundtable conference on national security, featuring key stakeholders, including the military leadership, religious and political leaders and held meetings with major political parities, but the PML-N was unwilling to be a part of it. According to sources in both the parties, MQM has called off the roundtable conference and instead continues its talks with the PML-N.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2012.