LAHORE, March 2: The PML-Q is trying to expand its ‘area of influence’ by exploring possibilities of making alliances even with anti-PPP forces.

While the Q is already in contact with Peer Pagara’s PML-F, on Saturday it announced forging an ‘electoral alliance’ with the Bahawalpur National Awami Party (BNAP) of Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi.

The BNAP confirmed talks for seat adjustment between the two parties and denied any electoral alliance.

Both PML-F and BNAP are critical of the Pakistan People’s Party and have ruled out any future electoral alliance with it. It will be interesting to see how the PML-Q, an ally of the PPP, goes along with the anti-PPP parties at the same time in the coming elections.

The PML-Q announced the electoral alliance with the BNAP at Bahawalpur division level after the meeting of Salahuddin Abbasi with the Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi at their residence here on Saturday.

The PML-Q manages to `forge an alliance’ with the BNAP despite the fact both parties differ on the proposed Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab province. The Nawab rather withdrew his support to the PPP for not backing the move to restore the Bahawalpur province. He claims to have got elected 12 PPP MPAs in the last election from his division through his party’s support. The PML-Q is also supporting the Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab but the Nawab believes it (PML-Q) is also in favour of restoration of Bahawalpur province.

“We believe unless we sit together the issues will not be resolved. We are not opposing restoration of Bahwalpur province and this issue will be resolved with the passage of time,” PML-Q leader and adviser to the prime minister Basharat Raja said.

Talking to Dawn, he said the PML-Q and BNAP would together perform well in the Bahawalpur divison. To a question about how would the PPP react to the Q’s talks with the anti-PPP parties, Mr Raja said talks between the PML-Q and PPP over seat-adjustments were underway and a lot of things had to be settled in coming days.

Chaudhry Shujaat said: “We have strong relations with the Nawab Sahib and we have formed a two-member committee comprising Tariq Bashir Cheema (PML-Q) and Malik Farooq Azam (BNAP president) to evolve the election strategy.”

To a question about unification of all Muslim Leagues, Shujaat said Pir Pagara had also been making efforts in this regard. “But the chances of my party (PML-Q)’s alliance with Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N are over.” He said it was time for making preparations for the general elections. Political changes would take place after the assemblies were dissolved and many alliances would be formed, he added.

Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi said the PML-Q was in favour of restoration of Bahawalpur province.

BNAP President Farooq Azam said the committee would discuss possibilities of seat adjustments in Bahawalpur division and denied the formation of any election alliance. — Zulqernain Tahir


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