The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Monday declared it would be supporting Awami National Party’s (ANP) candidates in the by-elections on two National Assembly (NA) and one provincial assembly seat.
Leaders of both parties made the announcement in a press conference held at the Peshawar Press Club.
Under this arrangement, the PPP would support ANP on NA-1 Peshawar, NA-5 Nowshera and PK-23 Mardan. The ANP has made a similar arrangement with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) whereby the latter would support the former on the same seats, while ANP would support JUI-F on three NA seats and one PK seat.
Senior leaders of both ANP and PPP were present at the press conference including Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Rahim Dad Khan, Tajuddin, Arbab Muhammad Tahir, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Sardar Hussain Babak and Shagufta Malik. PPP was represented by Zulfiqar Afghani among other party workers.
Speaking at the occasion, Rahim Dad Khan said, “The country is going through such a situation that liberal and leftist parties should unite to ensure good governance.”
He added the PPP had supported ANP on several occasions, “Both parties had a pleasant coalition during their five-year government and both wish to continue to cooperate in the future.”
Khan further said both parties believe in democracy and would play the role of an active opposition in both national and provincial assemblies.
“The ANP desires to extend the alliance to the local government level as well and would like to form a coalition committee on tehsil and union council levels,” Khan stated.
Senior leader Bilour also expressed satisfaction over the alliance and said both parties would have fared better in the general elections if they had joined forces then.
PPP’s support for ANP candidates comes after the ANP announced its unconditional support to PPP’s nominee for the presidential elections and claimed it would support PPP in all its decisions regarding presidential elections.
“If they wish to contest the presidential elections, we will support them, if they wish to boycott, we will also boycott it,” said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, ANP spokesperson.
“All the opposition parties are now united to play the role of the opposition in the assemblies,” Hussain added.
Zulfiqar Afghani, PPP candidate for NA-1, said he had withdrawn in favour of Ghulam Bilour. “I have accepted the party’s decision, although the workers have some reservations, the decision has been taken.”
NA-1 which has been regarded Bilour’s family forte fell to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the May 11 general elections, when Imran Khan secured more votes than Ghulam Ahmad Bilour. Imran, however, vacated the seat after taking oath from his Rawalpindi constituency.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2013.