RAWALPINDI: The PPP and PTI have joined hands to challenge the PML-N in the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation (RMC) by bringing a joint candidate for the opposition leader.

On the other hand, the ruling party is still undecided about its candidate for mayor and deputy mayors. Though PML-N Metropolitan president Sardar Naseem is the main contender, the party leadership is yet to announce the name of the mayor.

“Union Council chairman Raja Shahid of the PPP will be the opposition leader in the RMC. The PTI has assured us of its support,” PPP regional coordinator Raja Imran Ashraf told Dawn.

He said the PPP won four UC seats in the city areas and PTI managed to grab two seats.

Both the parties have decided to bring a joint candidate for the opposition leader.

“We want to highlight the problems of the citizens and the PTI local leaders have assured us of their support.” He said there was a need to stop the ruling party from deciding about the fate of the city without consulting anyone.

However, he refused to comment on getting the support of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s AML, which won from union council 46. “All opposition parties will be on one page for the sake of the citizens and their problems,” he said.

When contacted, former PTI Punjab north general secretary Zahid Kazmi confirmed that his party and the PPP had joined hands in order to resolve issues of the citizens. He said the opposition parties would raise the voice of the citizens in the district, province and at the national level jointly. He said after getting a majority, the ruling party had become arrogant as seen in the cantonment areas where there was no opposition.

But PML-N metropolitan president Sardar Naseem told Dawn that the ruling party would perform better without any strong opposition as it believed in working for the betterment of the citizens.

“The six-member opposition will soon disintegrate as it is an unrealistic alliance. The PPP has three seats, PTI two and the AML has one seat. In 2013, the PTI won two National Assembly and three provincial assembly seats from Rawalpindi but in 2015 people rejected it. On the other hand, the PML-N won 40 seats in 2015.”

He said the party would finalise the names of the mayor and deputy mayor keeping in view the betterment of the residents.

“The party will announce the names of mayor and deputy mayor after the election on the reserved seats in union councils, RMC and the District Council in the second phase,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2016