By-election: PML-N, PPP move to join hands against PTI govt

Two sides discussed the possibility of forging some sort of cooperation in the crucial polls

Sardar Sikander October 03, 2018
File photo of Zardari and Nawaz shaking hands. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples party (PPP) on Wednesday held a crucial meeting to formulate a joint strategy over the issue of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairmanship.

The meeting came in the wake of a cold response from the government over giving the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairmanship to the opposition.

However, the upcoming by-elections were the main topic of the meeting and the two sides discussed the possibility of forging some sort of cooperation in the crucial polls.

The meeting was held in the Parliament House. The PML-N leaders included Ayaz Sadiq, Rana Sanaullah, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and others.

The PPP delegation comprised of former chairman Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf Khursheed Shah and Qamar Zaman Kaira.

Before the meeting, some leaders, who attended the meeting, ‘leaked’ to the media that the opposition has decided to give a ‘tough’ time to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led federal and provincial governments in the by-elections and that the opposition would field joint candidates for by-polls scheduled for October 14 on 11 NA, 13 Punjab Assembly, nine Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and two seats each of Sindh and Balochistan assemblies.

Later, in a joint news conference, the leaders of both the parties said the opposition’s joint strategy was discussed in the meeting.

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“The leaderships of both the parties have given a go-ahead to carve out a joint strategy to defeat the government candidates in the by-elections,” Bukhari said.

“We would reach out to other political parties for this purpose.”

Kaira said the PML-N and the PPP would field joint candidates in the by-elections and reach an understanding that the PPP would support certain PML-N candidates in Karachi and the PML-N would do likewise in Punjab for PPP candidates.

However, sources in the PML-N told The Express Tribune that regardless of the PML-N and PPP claims of forging electoral alliance and fielding joints candidates in the by-elections, the issue of PAC chairmanship was figured high in the meeting.

A well-placed source in the PML-N said that N-League tried to convince the PPP in the meeting to openly support the candidature of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif for the PAC chairmanship but the PPP did not give any such insurance.

Following this development, the PML-N and the PPP presser after the meeting mainly focused on electoral alliance joint candidates in by-elections while attempting to downplay the PAC chairmanship issue.

“The PPP says it supports that the PAC chairman should be from the opposition, but it does not clearly support Shehbaz’s candidature. This irks the PML-N leadership,” the source said.

This was the third round of talks between the PML-N and the PPP in recent days. Recently, PML-N chief Shehbaz is said to have met Khursheed Shah.

Following recent deliberations between the government and opposition, it has transpired that the ruling PTI is willing to have a member of the opposition elevated as PAC chairman even if he/she belongs to the PML-N.

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However, the ruling lot is in no mood to agree to the appointment of Shehbaz and other senior PML-N leaders who enjoy close association with either former prime minister Nawaz Sharif or Shehbaz. These include Rana Sanaullah, Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal among others.

Sources in the PML-N told The Express Tribune that NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, who is facilitating the contacts between the government and the opposition over PAC chief appointment, has conveyed to the N-League leadership that Prime Minister Imran Khan is willing to allow a PML-N MNA become PAC chairman but the candidature of Shehbaz and a handful of other ‘hawkish’ leaders is not acceptable to him.

Reportedly, the appointment of PAC chief, would, although, be finalised after Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s arrival in Pakistan upon the conclusion of his official visit to the United States, it has already been decided that the government would not agree to Shehbaz or any of his cronies’ appointment as PAC chairman.

The PML-N source said the PTI government would also be willing to accept a candidate from the PPP get appointed as PAC chief except Asif Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Background discussions with senior PML-N leaders indicate that the PPP, too, like N-League, is eyeing the slot of PAC chairmanship. Reportedly, PPP supremo Asif Ali Zardari wants his son and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to be elevated as PAC chief.


iftikhar Ali | 5 years ago | Reply This is a very good news for PTI. It opens people eyes how corrupt political elites and ready to do anything to save there necks. Inshallah they will fail once again.
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