KARACHI: An alliance of 11 opposition parties with one-point agenda of removing the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) will serve as an electoral alliance as well and put its weight behind the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the forthcoming by-polls in Sindh.

The decision was announced during a meeting of the leaders of two major parties — the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the PPP — who agreed to use the by-election as an opportunity to strengthen the alliance.

“The PDM has decided in principle to show unity in the upcoming by-elections,” PPP Sindh president Nisar Khuhro said while talking to reporters after meeting with his PML-N counterpart Shah Mohammad Shah at the Muslim League House.

“We are thankful to the PDM leadership which has decided to show unity in the by-elections and strengthen this alliance. The PPP candidates will be supported by all the PDM parties in the Sindh by-elections.”

He said the decision was part of the PDM strategy to challenge the government through consensual policies and make every decision while taking all parties onboard.

The Election Commission of Pakistan had decided in what was seen by many as a sudden move last month to hold by-elections in the eight constituencies of the national and provincial assemblies, which had been put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The polls would pave way for completion of the electoral college for the forthcoming Senate polls.

In Sindh, the by-polls would be held in Umerkot, Malir, Sanghar and Tharparkar between Jan 18 and Feb 21. The PPP, which won the elections in the previous general elections from all these constituencies, has emerged as consensual party of the opposition for the by-polls.

“Now the candidates in all three constituencies are not of the PPP alone; they are now the PDM candidates,” said Mr Shah of the PML-N.

“We would not only support them, but would make every possible effort for their success, including election campaign and convincing people to use their rights of voting in support to the PDM.

Amid growing electioneering before the by-polls, the parties have started reaching out to their allies to win support.

Earlier this month, the ruling PTI reached out to its coalition partner in the centre, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, to discuss the possibility of an alliance and fielding joint candidates in the by-elections in Sindh.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2021

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