The head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, will be arriving in Karachi on a three-day visit on Monday afternoon.
According to the PML-N’s leadership in Karachi, Nawaz Sharif will meet with members of the business community on Monday at an event held in his honour. In a key development, he is also scheduled to meet veteran politician Sardar Ataullah Mengal at the Baloch leader’s Defence residence. Mengal, the head of the Balochistan National Party, has worked with the PML-N before. His son, Akhtar Mengal, served as the chief minister of Balochistan during Sharif’s 1997 government.
Nawaz’s schedule for Monday evening also includes a meeting with other Sindh politicians. The Express Tribune reported last week that he would meet with prominent politicians from the province, including those from the Mahar and Chandio families, as well as Saleem Jan Mazari and Shaukat Shah during his Karachi visit. He is also planning to meet representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the next three days.
MPA Abdul Razzaque Rahimoon of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (like-minded) group said the bloc did not have a meeting scheduled with Sharif. National Peoples Party MPA Arif Mustafa Jatoi also told The Express Tribune that Nawaz had not reached out to the party yet.
Sharif has visited Sindh several times this year. He has addressed rallies in flood-hit areas and strongly criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party government’s response to the disaster. Nawaz also spoke at a rally in Larkana this month. His younger brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, also visited Karachi in August and met businessmen and NGOs in the city. At a press conference in the city, Sharif acknowledged that the party had not been able to organise itself in Sindh but was attempting to fix that.
While the PML-N does not have any representation in the Sindh Assembly, any alliances Nawaz Sharif builds with Sindh’s influential political parties could help the party in the next general elections. Nawaz’s efforts come as the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is also attempting to strengthen its position in the province before it holds its rally in Karachi on December 25.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2011.