ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-N is unwilling to form a countrywide electoral alliance, but is interested in arrangements at provincial level, background interviews with some leaders of the party suggest.
“We are heading towards an alliance in Sindh and are also working on a similar one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” PML-N Information Secretary Mushahidullah Khan told Dawn on Sunday.
He said some leaders of opposition parties had proposed such alliances at last week’s meeting convened by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif at his Raiwind residence to ward off the scare of unconstitutional intervention triggered by Dr Tahirul Qadri’s long march.
Senator Khan said some of the leaders who attended the meeting, which took place just a day before Dr Qadri called off his sit-in after reaching an agreement with the government, had talked about formation of a grand alliance of opposition parties. “But the proposed alliance was aimed at ensuring that elections are not postponed because there were apprehensions that some forces were actively planning to get the elections delayed.”
Mr Khan said talks with different political parties in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were in progress and PML-N would soon form alliances in the two provinces. In KP, the party was seeking an alliance with the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F), he added.
Similarly, he said, his party was in contact with nationalist parties in Balochistan and hoped to reach an understanding with them.
Referring to the recent meeting between Mr Sharif and Pir Pagara, he said although Pir Sahab had come to offer condolence over the death of Abbas Sharif, brother of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, he had been planning a visit to Raiwind soon.
It is believed that PML-N may not be interested in a grand electoral alliance at the national level because it does not want to share with others its seats in its stronghold Punjab.
Political analysts attach a lot of significance to the Raiwind gathering in which about a dozen opposition parties discussed for over five hours the political situation arising out of Dr Qadri’s long march for ‘electoral reforms’ even if they led to postponement of general election due in a few months.
The meeting was attended by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, JI leader Syed Munawar Hasan, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai, National Party’s Hasil Bizenjo, Jamhoori Watan Party’s Talal Bugti and Aftab Ahmed Sherpao of Qaumi Watan Party.
Sources said Mr Sharif warned the leaders of the possibility of more attempts by “hidden forces” to derail the democratic process and asked them to remain vigilant and prepared to foil such conspiracies.
Almost all the opposition leaders, they said, authorised Mr Sharif to convene another meeting whenever he desired, even at a short notice.