Unlike former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Nawaz Sharif is unlikely to be elected as the premier unopposed.
Despite their bitter rivalry, PML-N expects Pakistan Peoples Party to support Nawaz’s bid to be elected prime minister for a record third time, it will find it harder to convince Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan for support.
According to PML-N sources, this is the reason behind the party’s lack of interest in courting PTI to support Nawaz’s premiership bid. “The PML-N knows that PTI will not support Nawaz Sharif for prime minister…it has been criticising us for adopting what they call ‘friendly opposition’ against the PPP government for five years,” they added.
Talking to The Express Tribune, PML-N spokesperson Mushahidullah Khan also said that while his party would like to see Nawaz elected as the prime minister unopposed, they know certain parties would never allow it.
“PPP is a mature political party and I don’t think they will be a hurdle in this regard… [But] I doubt PTI and MQM will act the same way since both parties are using ‘emotional’ politics,” he said. The PML-N leader added, however, that there was still time to forge consensus on Nawaz’s premiership bid.
“Everyone knows PML-N has an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly and there is no harm in electing Nawaz Sharif unanimously … Electing him unanimously just like Gilani will be generate goodwill in Parliament and establish a good tradition,” he maintained.
PTI sources say the party will either field Imran Khan or Makhdoom Javed Hashmi against Nawaz for the prime minister’s slot. They added that PTI would also adopt a more effective opposition strategy as opposed to playing the role of a ‘friendly’ opposition.
“Any reconciliatory approach will contradict the party’s line,” the sources said. PTI’s demand to recount votes in various constituencies have already widened the gulf between the party and PML-N.
When contacted, PTI spokesperson Shireen Mizari said that the party has yet to decide who to nominate for the prime minister’s slot. She said the party will hold a meeting today (Saturday) to take a decision in this regard.
The other day, talking to the reporters in the Parliament House, PPP senior leader Syed Khursheed Shah also said that his party has yet to decide whether to support Nawaz or field its own candidate for prime minister. However, his tone was apparently quite soft towards the PML-N chief.
Until now in the country’s parliamentary history, Gilani is the only prime minister to be elected unanimously by all political parties. After he was disqualified following his conviction by the Supreme Court, the feat could not be repeated. PML-N fielded Sardar Mehtab Abbasi against Gilani’s successor Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2013.