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PML-N ready to make compromises


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PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. — Photo by AFP

In recent weeks the main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has been criticised for taking politicians who had either worked under or remained associated with former president (retired) General Pervez Musharraf.  

Given its tough stance against accepting ‘turncoats’ in its ranks, for some observers the measure is the result of sheer frustration, while for others it is real politics driven by hard to ignore ground realities.

The latest entrant is Chaudhry Ahmad Saeed from Gujrat, who joined the party on September 24.

Even briefly skimming his resume is enough to raise eye-brows: Mr Saeed worked closely with Musharraf as chairman of the Pakistan International Airline (PIA), and is the older brother of a PPP stalwart and sitting minister, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar.

Needless to say, with Mr Saeed joining the ranks of the PML-N, the party gets a strong candidate to pitch against the other Chaudhrys of Gujrat, and this will definitely have a major impact on district level politics.

The other day, on a television talk show, when Mian Nawaz Sharif was confronted over the softening stance of the PML-N on its ‘no turncoats in the party’ policy, his reply was unconvincing: “I have accepted them on the condition that in the future they will not support any military dictator.”

Meanwhile, insiders opine that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) factor has forced the PML-N leadership to change its earlier tough stance against the Musharraf-era politicians.

A senior PML-N leader predicted more entries in the party from other sides in coming days.

He added that the PML-N was presently sitting in the opposition, and thus, couldn’t take the risk of pitting untried politicians against the established lot, whereas, the ruling coalition was using every possible mean to help their side in the next general elections.

“When every other party has opened its doors for politicians regardless of their devious political records, then why not us,” the opposition party leader argued.

Hence, just a few days prior to Mr Saeed joining the party, PML-N saw Riaz Hussain Pirzada, a sitting lawmaker of the PML-Q from Bahawalpur and a veteran politician, formally joining, after a meeting with Mr Sharif.

A couple of MPAs who happened to be Mr Riaz’s nephews had already announced their allegiance towards the PML-N.

With Mr Riaz taking side with Sharifs, the party will have a bankable candidate in Bahawalpur, who will help them to advance party’s interests in southern Punjab.  There are also reports of the PML-N wooing former Speaker National Assembly, Syed Fakhar Imam who hails from Khanewal and his politician wife, Syeda Abida Hussain from Jhang.

Both husband and wife have been part of the PML-N formerly, and if they join it for next elections then the party has a good shot at taking over the two constituencies which are currently with PML-Q lawmakers.

However, only time will tell if the PML-N can make any major breakthroughs in the electoral politics of Sindh.

With all its pro-active and at times desperate measures to break into Sindhi politics – in April this year when the PPP leadership developed serious differences with Sardar Uzair Baloch, leader of Peoples Aman Committee from Lyari, the party wasted no time in inviting him – the party has been able to attract a reasonable number of politicians towards its side.

Former chief minister Liaquat Ali Jatoi is seeing the operations of the party in Sindh, and in the last week of July, managed to take in former education minister and historian Dr Hamida Khuhro, along with her brother Masood Khuhro, who is also a former MPA.

Another former Sindh chief minister Arbab Rahim, who was part of the PML-Q, has also joined hands with the PML-N.

Similarly, the PML-N is looking for electoral alliances with Sindh-based political parties and has been successful.

The Sindh United Party (SUP) headed by Jalal Mehmood Shah has pledged its allegiance, while talks are under way with PML-F led by Pir Pagaro Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi.

The leaders of the two parties met in August this year, but a final decision is pending.

The PML-F has five MNAs and 11 MPAs—8 in Sindh Assembly and 3 in Punjab Assembly— which would bolster party rankings for the PML-N if the alliance comes through.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Engineer Amir Muqam, a sitting PML-Q lawmaker, who has joined the PML-N, is leading a similarly aggressive campaign.

In fact, Mr Muqam’s activity has irked old guards of the party in the province such as Sabir Shah and Mehtab Abbasi who have complained to Mr Sharif for his solo tactics.

Although Mr Muqam has not been able to net some big fish since joining the PML-N in March this year, he has brought in scores of district and tehsil level politicians.

At the moment, Mr Muqam has set his eyes on Khawaja Mohammad Khan Hoti, a former ANP, lawmaker who later joined Imran Khan, but, has recently resigned from the PTI.

With so much shuffling prior to the elections, it will be interesting to see how the voters react to the new coats, so many politicians would have acquired by then.

Comments (13) Closed

Liaqat Sep 28, 2012 12:28pm
by the way when was these door closed..
zia Sep 29, 2012 09:20pm
I started to hate Mr Nawaz sharif and has boycotted PML-n since the wiki-leaks cables revealed his hypocrisy last year in which he was caught "reinforcing in pro-american position" to then US ambassador Anne Patterson!!!!!
Baset Sep 29, 2012 05:22pm
Haha Nawaz Sharif the biggest wordsmith out there. PTI all the way insha allah !!!
Khalid Khan Sep 29, 2012 03:31pm
Syed W. Ali Sep 28, 2012 06:23pm
Wow! Way to go. Thanks for making it official. Let's all be devious.
Zafar Alim Sep 28, 2012 08:49pm
I think it is important to see what position Chudhry Ahmad Saeed was occupying in Musharraf days? Was it political and anti PML-N and pro Musharraf or just a nutral position? Our politicians try to undermine every act of a person they do't like!!
Hello1 Sep 29, 2012 05:37pm
Their leaders made a compromise to flee from Pakistan when the heat was turned on by Gen. Musharraf. So this is neither new nor surprising.
Ajilala Sep 28, 2012 02:18pm
Absolutely,that's how they promote the jugglers for their pety interests.IK is aheading nicely in an organized way .May he succeed for a better Pakistan.
Mudassar Sep 28, 2012 10:27am
What ever they do but they can't stand against IK, because change is bound to come insALLAH.
Usman Ajmal (@dodgy_helmet) Sep 28, 2012 07:27am
Any compromise to get into power and stay in power. That is what we have become used to from the PML-N
observer Sep 28, 2012 06:50am
There is nothing like principles in politics. People change parties so conveniently. Look at Firdous Ashiq Awan, Hina Rabbanni Khar, etc. who are in PPP now. So many with a history of changing parties have already joined PTI. Now, looking at not-so-promising PTI and lack of performance by PPP led government, people are hoping PML-N to emerge as the single largest party in the 2013 elections. So, it is not surprising that turncoats are joining PML-N in this hope. It is up to voters to reject those that change parties. It is better to vote for a veteran PPP or PML-N person than likes of Shah Mehmood Qureshi for example. When will big fish be eliminated from politics and common people make inroads?
Imtiaz Sep 29, 2012 04:07am
In the words of poet khalid masood 'lota lota he hota hay'....
observer Sep 29, 2012 04:25am
Be careful IK enthusiasts. Don't be over-optimistic. It is a one-person party. Personal strength and refusal to be number 2 to anyone is what IK is all about. IK's personality defines PTI. PTI is not a political party and it will never be.