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LAHORE: As the PPP has offered the PML-Q to join hands with it for next year’s general election, the latter seems more interested in having such an arrangement (alliance) with the PTI than the former.

“Former president Asif Ali Zardari in a recent meeting with Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Pervaiz Elahi at Bilawal House, Lahore, had offered it to consider going into 2018 election along with the PPP. The Chaudhrys said they would consider it,” PML-Q Information Secretary Senator Kamil Ali Agha told Dawn here on Saturday.

Mr Agha further said the PML-Q had already made an alliance with three other parties -- Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) and Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) -- and it might prefer Imran Khan’s PTI to have election alliance/seat-adjustment than going along with PPP. “PTI is more like-minded,” he added.

The PML-Q and PTI had made an alliance in the recent Chakwal by-poll.

To a question about the Chaudhrys’ efforts to bring all factions of the Muslim League, except the N-League, on one platform before the 2018 general election, the PML-Q Senator said: “No progress on this front has been made so far.”

Chaudhry Shujaat and Moonis Elahi had met former president and APML chief retired Gen Pervez Musharraf in Dubai last month and discussed the idea of making grand alliance for next election.

Kamil Ali Agha further said efforts of ‘grand alliance’ were still on and it might bear fruit in coming days.

Chaudhry Shujaat said on Saturday no decision had been taken regarding electoral alliance with any party so far. “Any such decision will be taken in consultation with the party leaders and workers.”

About his recent meeting with Mr Zardari and alliance with the PPP, the PML-Q chief said: “So far no decision has been taken regarding alliance with any party. We continue to hold talks with all like-minded parties.”

According to a senior PPP leader in Punjab, there has been a discussion in the party to form an alliance in the province well before the 2018 election to defeat the PML-N. “Without an alliance it will not be easy for any opposition party to defeat the PML-N in Punjab. Although Imran Khan is quite optimistic that the PTI may all alone give tough time to the PML-N (in Punjab), he is seriously mistaken and must review his stance,” he commented.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2017