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MULTAN, Aug 7: Welcoming a number of PML-N stalwarts into the PML fold, Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi has termed it a blissful day as his old friends have joined hands with him.

Speaking at a press conference at the residence of former MNA and PML-N leader Shaikh Tahir Rasheed here on Sunday, the chief minister said a true Leaguer could not become a pawn in the PPP’s political scheme of things. “They cannot like to be a part of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy which is being led by the PPP,” he said.

He said the Muslim League had a different political culture and ideology. It always aspired for a society free of corruption, development for all, alleviation of poverty and a stronger Pakistan. “The PPP has always adopted a course opposite to it and, therefore, it cannot be trusted,” he assailed.

The chief minister said the government had allocated Rs7 billion for 21 tehsils of the area to provide safe drinking water and a proper sewerage system. He said he had laid down the foundation stone of the schemes, including a dental college and a burn unit worth Rs650 million, at the Nishtar Medical College and Hospital.

He said the Multan Institute of Cardiology was near completion, and its outpatient department would start catering services within a week.

Earlier, Shaikh Tahir announced that he was joining the ruling party because his supporters were finding it difficult to adjust with the PPP in the ARD. “Nawaz Sharif has almost disassociated himself from the practical politics, and the PPP has been taking an advantage of this situation to capture the PML-N vote bank,” he claimed.

Pervaiz Elahi also went to the Multan residence of PML-N vice-president Iqbal Khakwani and Shujabad residence of district president MPA Mujahid Ali Shah and his brother, ex-MNA Javed Ali Shah. They also joined the ruling party, saying the PPP was capturing the PML-N in the absence of the latter’s leadership, and that they already had cordial relations with Shujaat and Pervaiz as they were in the same party before its bifurcation.

The CM said Faisal Mukhtar would be a candidate (of the ruling party) for the top slot of the Multan city district government. Mukhtar had earlier been the Multan city tehsil nazim.