ISLAMABAD: Allies of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) held a significant meeting late on Monday night, at which they exhibited unity among their ranks and vowed to win the crucial Senate elections scheduled for March 3.
The meeting of the PTI-led coalition partners ended speculation that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is tilting towards the opposition and will support Pakistan Peoples Party leader and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in the Senate election from Islamabad.
The meeting was held at the residence of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Zubaida Jalal and attended by representatives of all the coalition partners, including the PTI, MQM, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and Grand Democratic Alliance (DGA).
All the parties reassured their support for Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who is contesting the Senate poll for a seat from Islamabad. His one-to-one contest is with Mr Gilani, a joint candidate of the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement.
After the meeting, the leaders of the allied parties held a joint press conference and pledged to vote for the finance minister on March 3.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Shaikh said the Senate election was important for the future of the country and, therefore, the coalition partners were united. “We are all together to meet the basic challenge that there must be honest and capable leadership in the country, which does not indulge in money-making business but strives for the betterment of the people,” he said.
When asked if he would leave the country in case of defeat in the election, he said his family had been in politics and public service in Pakistan for the last 70 years and he would serve the country if given a chance for doing so in the future as well.
“We do not give weightage to fake news; it is an honour for me, my friends, my family and the country that I am associated with a world renowned university and that I have given service to 22 countries while working for the World Bank. The World Bank office is located in America and, therefore, I went there for work. If (the bank had an) office in Lahore I would be here to work,” he added.
MQM leader and federal Minister for Information Technology Syed Aminul Haq said his party was fully supporting Dr Shaikh and that all the coalition partners were united. He accused the PPP-led Sindh government of “threatening” lawmakers to seek their support for opposition candidates in the Senate election.
Meanwhile, Mr Gilani has written a letter to all MNAs, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, seeking their support for his election on the Senate seat from Islamabad.
Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2021