New political bonhomie: Nine-Zero visit irks PML-N allies

Even local leaders of the ruling party say they were not taken into confidence by the leadership.

Hafeez Tunio July 28, 2013
Mumtaz Bhutto. PHOTO: FILE


The PML-N leadership in Sindh has expressed its reservations over a possible alliance of their party with the MQM. 

Friday’s visit of a PML N delegation, led by Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, to the MQM headquarters Nine Zero has sparked a debate within the PML –N’s provincial leadership.

Mumtaz Bhutto, who has merged his Sindh National Front with the PML-N, Ghous Ali Shah, who heads the PML-N Sindh chapter, MPA Liaquat Ali Jatoi Shafi Jamote and MNA Hakeem Baloch expressed their concerns over the development.

“There is nothing wrong with visiting Nine Zero to seek support for the presidential candidate, but we will not accept if our party makes an alliance with the MQM without consulting us,” said Baloch, who had quit the PPP to join the PML-N.

“I parted ways with the PPP because of this kind of approach. There will be no difference between the PML-N and the PPP if the former continues its policy by sidelining its workers and leaders in Sindh,” he added.

Ghous Ali Shah, who was earlier tipped as the PML-N’s presidential candidate, said: “We will accept whatever decision is made by the party; but some of our party leaders and workers are asking why decisions are being made without proper consultations.”

He added that they were not against the party decision to invite the MQM to join the federal government, but this should have been done after proper intra-party consultations.

Sources in the party said the PML-N team before arriving in Karachi had contacted Shah to inform him about their planned visit to Nine Zero, but he (Shah) excused himself, by saying that he was not feeling good.

On the other hand, a meeting was scheduled between the PML-N delegation and PML-F chief Pir Pagara, but the latter refused to meet them following reports of their planned visit to Nine Zero.

Quoting Pir Pagara, a PML-F leader said, “We are a coalition partner of the PML-N government; therefore it must consult us on every issue pertaining to Sindh, otherwise our partnership is meaningless.”

When contacted, the spokesperson for Raja House (residence of Pir Pagara) said, “The PML-N leaders wanted to meet on Friday, a day before their scheduled meeting, but Pir Sahib excused himself.”

Apart from this, Mumtaz Bhutto has reportedly called a meeting of his old party leaders on July 30 to devise a future line of action.  “Many party leaders are insisting to restore our own party instead of sitting with PML-N,” one of the close aides of Mumtaz Bhutto said, adding that an important decision was likely to be made on July 30 as the PML N-leadership was continuously ignoring Mumtaz Bhutto after the general elections.

On the other hand, Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said the PML-N has not yet invited the MQM to join the federal government and that the latter has announced ‘unconditional’ support for Mamnoon Hussain.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2013.

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