Realigning forces: PML-Q, AML and PAT form ‘grand alliance’

Say they are also contacting other parties, including PTI, to join forces.


Our Correspondent June 26, 2014

LAHORE:


Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Awami Muslim League (AML) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) on Wednesday announced they have formed a ‘grand political alliance’ against the government and will invite other parties to join forces with them.


According to sources, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, PML-Q Punjab chapter President Chaudhry Pervez Elahi and AML chief Sheikh Rashid called on PAT head Dr Tahirul Qadri on Wednesday at his residence in Model Town.

This was PML-Q leadership’s second consecutive meeting with Dr Qadri within 24 hours. According to sources, the leaders discussed government’s steps to foil Qadri’s welcome reception, GT Road march and his public gathering at The Mall, which was scheduled to be held on Tuesday night.

The sources said the leaders persuaded Qadri not to budge from his stance and prepare his workers for a long movement after the month of Ramazan.

According to sources, Sheikh Rashid and Chaudhry brothers will try to woo Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to be a part of the agitation and map out a plan of protests, which would “shake up the federal and provincial governments” led by PML-N.

They would meet Imran Khan and set dates for protests and the long march. Their protests will aim at mobilising the workers from Punjab, one of the sources said.

“After Ramazan they will properly start protests under the grand alliance and target pockets of their own vote banks. The fate of the grand alliance will be shaped up in the month of Ramazan,” he added.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, they said they were in the process of contacting religious and political parties.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif should resign “for committing massacre in Model Town,” they said. “What sort of democracy is this in which unarmed, innocent citizens are being killed?”

They said until Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif resigned, nobody would step forward to give testimony against him. They said cases were registered in Talagang against the PML-Q leaders and workers whereas terrorism cases were registered against another 1,600 PAT workers.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2014.

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