In the wake of high-profile defections, chief of his own faction of Pakistan Muslim League, Nawaz Sharif, can finally heave a sigh of relief.
It was the last wish of seer-politician Pir Pagara to merge his Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) with PML-N of Nawaz Sharif, sources told The Express Tribune. And for this purpose, negotiations are currently underway. Both parties are working out the modalities or such a union or merger.
This move will obviously provide PML-N with a political boost that it badly needs at this stage.
Reportedly, Pir Pagara had ‘almost declared it his will’ that PML-F be merged with PML-N and had asked Nawaz to initiate talks with his younger son, Younis Saeen. Last month, PML-F President in Punjab Makhdoom Ahmad Mehmood and Younis met with Nawaz at Raiwind and agreed to such a merger.
Younis, known otherwise as Raja Sain Pir Sibghatullahi, who has been made 8th Pagara after the death of his father, is the de facto decision-maker within the party. An MNA from NA-217 (Khairpur), he enjoys close ties with PML-N’s top cadres.
The announcement about the party merger was to be made initially during Nawaz’s last visit to Sindh. At the time however, Pir Pagara was hospitalised in Karachi.
According to Nawaz’s Political Secretary Dr Asif Kirmani, the PML-N chief will reach Pir Jo Got today (Tuesday) to offer condolences over Pir Pagara’s death. He will also visit Badin and Sukkur. Nawaz will attend the twenty-fifth death anniversary of political leader Fazil Rahu, who was associated with the Awami National Party. Rahu was killed in 1987 during General Ziaul Haq’s regime.
PML-N Sindh General Secretary Saleem Zia told The Express Tribune that Sharif’s last six or seven visits have improved the party’s profile in the province.
“Earlier it was believed that PML-N did not care about Sindh, but Mian sahib has visited Sindh several times, he went to the flood-affected areas and to Karachi a few times where he has met with a cross-section of people: businessmen, stockbrokers, advocates and traders. So this has an impact,” Zia said.
Sources added that Nawaz is to use the opportunity to finalise the nature of the unification from his side, which will later be contemplated by PML-F’s Central Executive Committee, which is scheduled to meet on January 21.
PML-F Chief Organiser Kashif Nizamani confirmed to The Express Tribune that his party would contemplate Nawaz’s suggestion.
How a merger benefits PML-N
According to a study carried out by PML-N’s ‘think tank’ in Raiwand, ongoing negotiations with Sindhi political leaders and the party’s unification with PML-F would enable the party to extend control over 10 districts of Sindh and provide it with 19 potential candidates for NA seats in the next general election.
In 1985 the security establishment decided to make Muhammad Khan Junejo president of the united PML. Pir Pagara, not happy with the decision, parted ways and formed his own faction of Muslim League, called PML-F. (WITH ADDITION INPUT FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT IN KARACHI)
Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated that Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi has been made the 8th Pagara. The error is regretted.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2012.
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