ISLAMABAD: The so-called ‘right wing’ political parties performed badly in the 1970 elections. The Pakistan Peoples Party swept 81 of the 138 seats in the western provinces, and the 15 independents came in second. Around 18 seats were distributed among the three Muslim Leagues – 9 for Qayyum, 7 for Council, and 2 for Convention.
When elected members of the Awami League were disqualified, and by-elections were announced on 78 East Pakistan national constituencies, many of the smaller parties with divergent ideologies, tried to rise above their numbers by forging an alliance. Nurul Amin, the chief of Pakistan Democratic Party, led the efforts to put up joint candidates from six parties.
Then, all the opposition parties, except Tehreek-e-Istiqlal of Asghar Khan and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan of Shah Ahmed Noorani, met in Rawalpindi in February 1973 and announced an alliance named United Democratic Front.
The UDF acted more like a club of parties, divergent in their ideologies but united in their opposition to the PPP.
In this vein, nine opposition parties met in Lahore on January 10, 1977, immediately after the announcement of elections and declared the formation of an electoral alliance named Pakistan National Alliance.
(Courtesy: Free and Fair Elections Network and Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan)
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2013.