PML-F likely to ally itself with Nawaz Sharif

Party dissatisfied with PPP; Pir Pagaro to meet PML-N chief soon.

Qamar Zaman August 13, 2012


The Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) is considering withdrawing  from the ruling coalition led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and a formal decision is expected immediately after Eid.

Insiders told The Express Tribune on Sunday that the party might enter into an electoral alliance or seat adjustment with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ahead of the upcoming general elections.

Currently, the PML-F has five seats in the National Assembly, and has recently had a host of influential politicians in Sindh join the party.

“We are in constant consultation and will soon decide how to readjust ourselves for the future,” Syed Mustafa Mahmud, a young parliamentarian from the PML-F told The Express Tribune on Sunday.

PML-F leader Syed Ahmed Mahmud, father of Mustafa, has held several meetings with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and other party leaders in recent months.

Mustafa’s sweeping victory in the last by-elections was aided by the PML-N, a development that laid the foundation for cooperation between the two parties. He was contesting elections from Rahim Yar Khan’s NA-195 seat, vacated by Jahangir Tareen who abandoned his MNA seat after joining the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Ahmed was endeavouring to bring the PML-F closer to the PML-N, and was also urging the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid to seek the unification of all PML factions.

Sources in the PML-N said that Ahmed’s efforts were close to producing favourable results, at least in case of bringing the PML-F close to the PML-N.

The PML-N also seems geared to build ties with the party.  It might be a boost for the PML-N to seek new partners in Sindh ahead of the next elections, specially one which is fast winning new and important politicians. “We are expecting a breakthrough in our efforts,” a top official from the PML-N said.

Earlier on Friday, a PML-N delegation held a meeting with PML-F chief Pir Pagaro Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi and discussed the possibilities of their electoral alliance. In addition, Rashdi was extended an invitation to visit Lahore to meet Nawaz, which he accepted.

Apprehensive of the flourishing alliance, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf held a meeting with a PML-F delegation and promised to address its reservations with the PPP during his visit to Karachi.

The PML-F has had serious reservations regarding changes in polling schemes in Sindh as well as the non-cooperation of the Sindh government with regard to jobs, transfers, and postings.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2012.