LAHORE: In opposition to Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s proposal, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has expressed doubt about the likelihood of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) parties contesting the next elections from a single platform, as PDM is not an election alliance.

“The PDM is not an election alliance and it is unlikely that it contests the next polls on one platform. Every party has its own manifesto. However, the parties in the PDM may go for seat-adjustment at local levels,” the PDM president said in a talk with journalists at the residence of PML-N stalwart Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on Monday.

Khawaja Asif of PML-N recently said the PDM parties should contest upcoming elections together.

The PDM is a nine-party alliance with PML-N leading it. The PPP is not part of this alliance, however, it has hinted at making seat-adjustment with the PML-N, especially in Punjab.

Seat adjustment at local level remains a possibility; JUI-F chief says he will welcome court-imposed ban on PTI

The ruling coalition parties have stepped up efforts to take full advantage of the crumbling of Imran Khan’s PTI following the events of May 9. The PML-N, PPP, JUI-F, PML-Q, and the Jahangir Khan Tareen group have all launched campaigns in anticipation of October, 2023 general elections and wooing the support of electables and the PTI deserters.

Like many coalition leaders, Maulana Fazl also did not categorically say that the elections would be held this October.

“We are political people who are in favour of elections but the decision regarding (October) polls will be taken in consultation with the coalition parties, just as the PDM made decisions in consultation with the allied parties in the past,” Maulana Fazl said.

PPP senior leader and former governor Makhdoom Ahmad Mahmood also hinted at what is being considered by the federal coalition. “The caretaker setup after the completion of the tenure of the incumbent federal government may prolong for six months if it performs well economically,” Mr Mahmood said.

The federal government’s tenure is ending in August.

Ban on PTI to be welcomed

The JUI-F head said: “If the court bans the PTI we will welcome it.” He also supported the trial of May 9 suspects under the Army Act saying this never happened in the country that a political party activists were involved in the attacks on the military installations.

He made it clear that there would be no talks with Khan’s PTI as it had only to face law for May 9 violence.

Meanwhile, Maulana Fazl also called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at his Model Town residence in Lahore and discussed the current political situation.

According to Aaj TV, the two agreed to convene PDM meeting before the budget presentation.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2023

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