KARACHI: After recent cracks in the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz on Saturday sought support of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for an upcoming by-election on a Karachi National Assembly seat for its candidate, former finance minister Miftah Ismail.
The proposal came from the top leadership of the PML-N when former prime minister and senior party leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chose to take up the matter in a meeting with PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at Bilawal House where other leaders of the two parties were also present.
A brief statement issued from Bilawal House after the meeting said that the two leaders discussed the NA-249 by-election.
The seat fell vacant after Faisal Vawda of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf resigned from the assembly for his Senate seat. In the 2018 general elections, Mr Vawda defeated PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif with a narrow margin.
The fresh contact between senior leaders of the two parties came as the first development after recent reports of differences within the PDM. The cracks within the ranks of the 10-party opposition alliance had become visible when its leadership announced postponement of their March 26 anti-government long march due to differences over the issue of resignations.
Former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi meets PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari
An upset looking Maulana Fazlur Rahman, chief of the PDM, had earlier this week announced “postponement” of the much-publicised long march of the opposition alliance after the PPP had sought more time to reconsider its position on the issue of en masse resignations.
“The two leaders discussed the political situation in the country,” said the statement. “During the meeting Mr Abbasi sought support for his party’s candidate in NA-249 elections. The PPP chairman, however, informed Mr Abbasi that he would revert to the proposition once he’s consulted with party leadership. The meeting was also attended by Senator Sherry Rehman, Naveed Qamar of the PPP and Miftah Ismail of the PML-N.”
PTI seeks MQM-P support
A delegation of the PTI led by MPA Khurram Sher Zaman visited the temporary headquarters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan in Bahadurabad and sought the latter’s support for their candidate, Amjad Afridi, in the upcoming NA-249 by-election.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, senior MQM-P leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel said that the coordination committee would consider the PTI’s request. “We will let the PTI leadership know the decision of the coordination committee,” he added.
Meanwhile, a PML-N delegation led by Mr Abbasi called on PTI leader Haji Muzaffar Shujra and asked him to join the party.
There was no announcement from Mr Shujra, who was earlier associated with the PPP and has also served as a provincial minister in Sindh.
Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2021