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LAHORE: The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) will support the PML-N in the city by-elections and an assurance to this effect has been given to Khwaja Saad Rafique, a PML-N candidate for NA-131, who met Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) President Pir Ijaz Hashmi.

Explaining the decision, Pir Hashmi tells Dawn that the MMA central leadership has decided to support the PML-N wherever the alliance did not field its own candidate. On the basis of the decision, all five component parties of the alliance would support PML-N in the by-elections due on Sunday (Oct 14).

Talking to the media, he says the decision is also based on the ideological affinity between the MMA and the PML-N: both believe in democratic values and civilian supremacy.

They also believe that the current government (of PTI) is not a true representative of people of Pakistan, rather it has been imposed by the powers that be. To make the matters worse, the PTI has made people’s life miserable within days of assuming power, he says.

Shah Awais Noorani, who also attended the meeting, claims that ‘semi-Martial Law’ has been imposed in the country. Pakistan, he says, cannot afford such an experiment, where unelected people run the state affairs, without being responsible to the people.

Khwaja Saad Rafique, who went to seek electoral support, tells the media and his hosts that it is the first government in country’s history, which is more aggressive than the opposition.

The news that Imran Khan is now prime minister is yet to catch up with him: he is still behaving like an opposition protester. In these circumstances, it is national duty of the opposition to join hands and turn the country into democracy and an Islamic welfare state, he says.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2018