LAHORE, Dec 18: PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif's plans for a grand anti-PPP alliance in Sindh suffered a setback when self-exiled former Sindh chief minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, who is the president of PML-Likeminded, refused to contest the upcoming polls on a N-League ticket, said a well-placed source on Tuesday.

The elder Sharif and Dr Rahim met in Dubai late on Monday evening and discussed the political situation back in their homeland with particular emphasis on an electoral alliance between the parties.

PML-N sources said the meeting was just a courtesy call as both parties had already settled electoral affairs here in the country and the only point they wanted to discuss was the return of Dr Rahim from exile.

But the source claimed that convincing the ex-CM of making his homecoming at the earliest for taking an effective part in the electioneering and contesting the polls on the election symbol of the PML-N was the agenda of the encounter.

The PML-N had long been making a demand that the PML-likeminded contest the next general election on its election symbol i.e. lion. The refusal by the former CM would certainly affect the N-League standing in Sindh in many ways and reduced the electoral alliance between the two parties to a seat adjustment formula. Dr Rahim went abroad soon after being hurled a shoe by a PPP activist in the Sindh Assembly.

PML-N leader Mamnoon Hussain said that Dr Rahim would definitely return to his country once the caretaker set-up was put in place. “However, he is being persuaded to return early to use his influence in electoral alliance.”

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