The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the opposition party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) have formed an alliance in Balochistan to contest the upper house of parliament polls, due on March 5.
It was announced during a joint news conference by PML-N Balochistan chapter chief Sanaullah Zehri and JUI-F General Secretary Ghafoor Haideri in Quetta. “PML-N and JUI-F have formed the alliance in order to end the horse-trading in Senate elections,” both the leaders said.
“PML-N is in contact with other parties in the provincial assembly,” Zehri said. He said the province was infamous for horse-trading, particularly in the Senate elections. However, following the directives of the prime minister, the provincial leaders are making utmost efforts to stop buying of votes.
The candidate for the Senate general seat, Nawabzada Naimatullah Zehri, the younger brother of Nawab Zehri, was present along with the two leaders.
PML-N is the coalition partner of the ruling National Party (NP) and Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP).
The NP and PkMAP had reportedly approached opposition JUI-F for the Senate elections. However, the JUI-F has joined hands with the PML-N.
There would be elections for the 12 vacant seats of Senate from the province: eight general, two technocrats and one each for woman and Ulema.
According to a senior leader of NP, the NP and PkMAP are expected to secure five to six seats out of the total 12 while PML-N, JUI-F and PML-Q are hoping to win the remaining six seats. However, there are some influential independent candidates who are also expected to either win the seats or give tough time to these three major parties.
The PML-N has 22 legislators in the provincial assembly. The party is in alliance with the PML-Q of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat which has only four MPAs in the house. Their collective strength is 26.
The PkMAP is the second largest party with 14 MPAs, followed by the NP which has 11 legislators. The three parties have individually tried to enlist the support of JUI-F, the only major opposition party in the assembly which has eight MPAs.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2015.