PML-N, PPP reach out for a backdoor deal

Neither party appears willing to give up on the Senate chairman’s seat

Our Correspondent February 18, 2015
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif(L) and former president Asif Ali Zardari (R). PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD: As the Senate election draws closer, both the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are not shying away from contacting each other, according to confirmed reports.

Both of them appear to be on the look out for broader settlements in the quest for building consensus over the prized posts of chairman and deputy chairman of the upper house. For the moment, however, there is little sign of any agreement between the two sides. Neither party appears willing to give up on the chairman’s seat.

PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari has had two meetings with the PML-N, one with Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, and the second with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Both sides, it seems, are reluctant to place all their cards on the table.

According to details shared by their representatives, the leaders of the two parties discussed how they should come to a mutually acceptable agreement– in order to prevent smaller political parties in the cabinet from resorting to blackmail.

The sources said that both parties’ leaders agreed that the real numbers game in the Senate would only be visible after the election, and that is when the two would be able to negotiate with each other.

For his part, Zardari wants to keep his party relevant in national politics by bringing in Senate members from all four provinces. In Punjab, PPP candidate Nadeem Afzal Chan is actively soliciting the support of members of the provincial assembly trying to capitalise on the fact that PML-N has nominated three Sindh office bearers to contest there.

There is also growing discontent that Chan is capitalizing on South Punjab which has been totally ignored by the PML-N leadership while awarding Senate ticket. The PML-Q’s alliance with the PPP could help garner votes for Chan.

By forming an alliance with the PML-Q, Zardari can succeed in securing Sabir Baloch’s seat from the Balochistan Assembly. The Senate election in Balochistan province has its own dynamics and results can be contrary to the conventional results in the provincial assembly.

In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the PPP has pitched ex-MNA Noor Alam Khan on the general seat. He is in a comfortable position to secure the seat due to his personal contacts with all MPAs of the K-P Assembly.

Barring a few major upsets, it seems that the PPP will retain its position as the single largest party in the upper house. The party’s top leadership is expecting 26 to 28 senators in the upper house.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2015.


Mohammad | 6 years ago | Reply @Dr AH / Germany: You rightly said, Imran Khan alone can't uproot these two parties... this shows IK lack wisdom. Former President General Musharraf wisely said that small parties can join hand together to keep both mainstream (thief) parties outside of governess. People's demand is not to see PPP & PMLN in power, anything IK or anyone else do by anyway, people will never have any objection. Even if IK has to shake hand with small parties like MQM, APML, ANP.... or even if IK needs to pull away some good parliamentarians by hook or crook, he must do it. Time is running short, people are looking at IK, if he fails to do it in near future, people will look somewhere else, and that somewhere else is ARMY!!!
Jan | 6 years ago | Reply different side of a same coin....not impressed!!
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