ISLAMABAD: A day after Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari showed his readiness to join hands with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) after upcoming elections, if needed, the PTI again ruled out the possibility of an alliance between the two parties.

“Thank you Mr Zardari, we will not be requiring anyone’s support. The PTI will emerge as the single largest party in parliament after the elections and will form government on its own,” said PTI information secretary Fawad Chaudhry while commenting on Mr Zardari’s statement.

Talking to journalists in Lahore on Friday, Mr Zardari had said, “If a post-election situation requires it, we will strike an alliance with Imran Khan like we did in the Senate (elections).”

Talking to Dawn on Saturday, Mr Chaudhry said that Mr Khan had categorically stated that the PTI would never join hands with the “Zardari’s PPP”, come what may.

Moreover, he said that the PTI would be fielding more than 200 candidates for the 272 general seats of the National Assembly and “we see no problem in winning 150 plus seats”.

He claimed that the other parties would not be able to field more than 100 candidates each and both the PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) would have to struggle a lot to find candidates.

He said that the PPP and the PML-N had become regional parties and the PTI had no competition with any of them. “The PPP is a party of interior Sindh and the PML-N has become a central Punjab-based party,” he said, predicting that the PML-N would become a “non-entity” after the elections.

He denied that the PTI had entered into any kind of understanding with the PPP in the recent election of Senate chairman.

Meanwhile, PML-N information secretary Senator Mushahidullah Khan ridiculed the PTI’s claim, saying that there was no competition between the two parties. He said that the PML-N would sweep the next elections and surety bonds of its rivals would be confiscated even in southern Punjab.

PPP secretary general Nayyar Bokhari said that he could not make any comment on Mr Zardari’s remarks as he was not present in Lahore and did not know the context of Mr Zardari’s statement. He said that the PPP had already made it clear that it had no intention to form an alliance with any party before the elections.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2018

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