KARACHI: The Pakistan Muslim League - Functional (PML-F) has once again decided to form an electoral alliance against the Pakistan People Party, ahead of the Local Government elections scheduled for January 18.
This will be the second alliance to be formed by PML-F against the ruling PPP. Earlier, more than a dozen parties, led by PML-F had joined hands to defeat the PPP in the May 11 polls. The alliance yielded no significant result as the latter had bagged the majority of seats in rural Sindh.
The situation now seems different as the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has shown interest in becoming a part of the coalition. Sources privy to the development told The Express Tribune that Pir Pagara has given the task of forming the alliance to his younger brother, MNA Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashdi, who has started contacting different political parties, including MQM, Pakistan Tehree-e-Insaf, Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz, Sindhi nationalist parties and other likeminded groups.
In this connection, PML-N MPA Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim and an MQM delegation, comprising Wasim Ahmed, Dr Sagheer Ahmed and Sardar Ahmed, met leaders of the PML-F at the residence of Jam Madad Ali. The leaders discussed the upcoming elections and the amendments to the local government law.
Though Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, who is also a former chief minister of Sindh, attended the meeting and expressed wishes to join the alliance, other leaders of his party termed it his personal decision and not the party's policy. "No one has contacted us. PML-N is yet to decide to join any alliance," said PML-N leader, Haji Shafi Jamote.
MQM's Wasim Akhtar said that the meeting discussed various options with the PML-F leaders regarding the electoral alliance but the final decision would be made by Rabita Committee. "PPP wants to rig the elections, therefore all democratic forces should join hands against its nefarious designs," he said.
Meanwhile, the development has put off Jamaat-e-Islami, Sindhi nationalist parties and the Sunni Tehreek who have refused to join the group. The Jamaat-e-Islami, which is considered to be a rival of the MQM, has decided to make an alliance on the basis of seat adjustment with the PPP and PTI in Sindh.
"PML-F's general election campaign revolved against the PPP and MQM but the same party is now pursuing the MQM. We have categorically refused to join this alliance," said Jalal Mehmood Shah, convener of Save Sindh Movement - an alliance of Sindhi nationalist parties.
JI Karachi Ameer, Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, told The Express Tribune that every thing was possible in politics but his party will not form an alliance with the MQM. "We have developed an understanding with the PPP and PTI on various constituencies in Karachi and other districts. The final decision will be made before submitting nomination papers of the candidates," he said, adding that there was an electoral alliance between PPP and JI in 2005 and they wished to continue it in the interest of Karachi's development.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2013.
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