KARACHI: Top leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) on Thursday intervened to assure the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of its “unconditional support” for the upcoming Karachi mayor election, thwarting demand of its city leadership, which was seeking the slot of deputy mayor and a “best possible” deal with the ruling party in Sindh against its votes.
The final meeting between the two sides was held at the residence of former governor of Sindh and senior PML-N leader Mohammad Zubair where leaders from both parties finalised their terms for a partnership.
A statement issued by the PML-N after the meeting said that the party had decided to extend “unconditional support” to the PPP in the upcoming mayoral elections and the two sides agreed to continue their cooperation for strong democracy and betterment of Karachi.
“The two sides agreed that Karachi was badly ignored in the past and it was time for all democratic forces to join hands for its development and progress which would lead to prosperous Pakistan,” it said.
Top leadership’s intervention takes Nawaz league’s Karachi chapter by surprise
“The PML-N has decided to extend its unconditional support to the PPP and its mayoral candidate in the upcoming election. The PPP has also assured it [PML-N]that it would keep the latter’s leadership and members of the local government informed while taking decisions and making policies for Karachi’s development.”
The final decision from the PML-N came days after its Karachi leadership made it clear to the PPP that it would only support its ally at the Centre in the Karachi mayoral election if it was offered office of the deputy mayor, said the PML-N sources.
“The Karachi PML-N also put up a few more demands before the PPP leadership and was expecting to make a deal on the maximum,” said a party source.
“The only objective of making this chemistry with the PPP in Karachi local government was to strengthen the party at the city level. The party, despite being one of the key political stakeholders across the country, is almost non-existent in Karachi and the city leadership took it as a good chance to make its presence felt through local government.”
That was the reason, he said, that the PML-N local leadership held a meeting with Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Karachi chief and its mayoral candidate Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman and kept the option of its support in the June 15 elections open.
The PML-N Sindh in general and its Karachi leadership in particular was clear that it would go in the mayoral elections with the party which met their demands.
That was when the PPP, desperately seeking the PML-N support without losing any key office of the local government in return, sensed the approaching threat and used contacts at higher level on both sides to formalise things which finally emerged on Thursday night. The presence of the PML-N leader in the meeting, who is close to the party’s top leadership, was just a reflection of arrangements at the higher level.
“Rana Mashhood, an MPA from Punjab and former Punjab minister specially attended the meeting on a directive of chief organiser PML-N Maryam Nawaz. He briefed the meeting in the light of the directive from top leadership,” said the PML-N statement.
Those who attended the meeting from Karachi chapter, it said, were Salman Khan, Nasiruddin Mahmood and Ali Akbar Gujjar.
A party leader declined to comment when asked about the sentiments within the PML-N Karachi chapter over the hastily-made decision by the top leadership at a time when the party in the city was insisting on its demands in return for its support for the mayoral elections. However, he pointed out that “it’s not the deal we have imagined.”
“The top leadership might have consideration of future political partnership and the upcoming general elections and they definitely would have justifiable arguments in favour of their decisions,” he said.
Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2023