ISLAMABAD: As the political temperature heats up and parties scent elections in the air, the National Party (NP) has begun efforts to woo its coalition partners in the 2013 Balochistan Assembly.

The top leadership of the NP, including its president and former chief minister

Dr Abdul Malik, is in the federal capital and the party is set to hold a second meeting with the PML-N here today (Monday).

In 2013, the NP, PML-N, the JUI-F and the Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) formed a coalition government in Balochistan.

The PML-N side will be headed by former senator Pervaiz Rasheed, who was nominated by Maryam Nawaz, chief organiser of the party, after a recent meeting with the National Party.

The NP stressed during the negotiations that the general election should be held in time, as any delay could aggravate the law and order situation in the province and create a trust deficit between the people and the security apparatus.

“A genuine political leadership duly elected through the democratic process is essential to defusing the unrest among the Baloch and catering for their social and economic needs,” Dr Malik told Ms Nawaz.

He said the NP and the PML-N had been close to each other since 1990 and it was time that the two parties work together to form a government in Balochistan again.

The NP leadership welcomed the adoption of a bill by parliament on Sunday paving the way for the return of PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif to mainstream politics.

“The key issues to be discussed with PML-N on Monday will be the political situation in Balochistan, seat adjustment and other pre-election matters,” Ayub Malik, Punjab president of NP, said. “After initial discussions, we hope to meet Nawaz Sharif for a final agreement.”

A delegation of the National Party had a meeting with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, on Saturday.

The delegation was led by Dr Abdul Malik himself.

Sources told Dawn the Maulana had expressed concern over the law and order situation in Balochistan, especially the use of women as suicide bombers.

“This was never a part of our culture,” the Maulana said, stressing that the solution lay in strengthening democracy.

“Voters should be free to exercise their right without fear,” Maulana Fazl said.

He nominated Maulana Abdul Wasay, MNA from Balochistan’s Kila Saifullah district, to head his party in negotiations with the NP.

Sources in the NP said, however, that they feared the JUI-F was inclined to side with the Peoples Party. They pointed out that the PPP had won over a number of politicians in the province to its side, including several from the ruling Balochistan Awami Party.

The next round of talks between NP and JUI-F will be held after the return of some leaders of the latter from Haj.

At the same time, NP leaders have been in touch with Mehmood Khan Achakzai, the chief of PkMAP.

“We have clearly stated our intention to maintain links with Mr Achakzai,” a senior party leader said, alluding to a split in the party recently when Khushhal Khan Kakar, the son of former senator late Usman Kakar, parted ways with Mr Achakzai and formed his own faction.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2023

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