LAHORE: Nawaz Sharif shakes hands with Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain during their first meeting in 15 years, on Wednesday.—PPI
LAHORE: Nawaz Sharif shakes hands with Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain during their first meeting in 15 years, on Wednesday.—PPI

LAHORE: In a ‘historic’ political development on Wednesday, PML-N supre­­­mo Nawaz Sharif visited PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain at his Lahore residence and both parties agreed to prepare proposals for an electoral alliance in the upcoming Feb 8 elections as well as long-term political relationship.

Nawaz Sharif visited Mr Hussain 15 years after the latter had parted ways with the PML-N and joined former army chief and military dictator Pervez Musharraf’s government. Mr Hussain had also briefly served as the prime minister.

The PML-N supremo was accompanied by PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, chief organiser Maryam Nawaz Sharif, and senior party leaders Khawaja Saad Rafique, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, and Azam Nazir Tarar.

The PML-Q president was aided by party leaders Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain, Chaudhry Salik Hussain and Shafay Hussain.

‘N’ and ‘Q’ agree on seat adjustment in four NA, eight Punjab Assembly constituencies

While no official statement was issued following the meeting, sources say the forty-minute meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere. They also decided that both parties would make final decisions on different issues, including seat adjustments, after detailed deliberations at the committee level by their representatives.

Mr Sharif expressed his “genuine concern” for Shujaat Hussain’s well-being and conveyed his heartfelt good wishes.

Sources in the PML-Q claimed that both parties had agreed on seat adjustment for four National Assembly and eight Punjab Assembly constituencies that include NA seats for party leaders Tariq Bashir Cheema and Chaudhry Salik Hussain as well as a provincial assembly seat for Chaudhry Shafay Hussain.

In another meeting with a party leader, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said it was high time that the bitterness created between political parties in the past be forgotten. He said the nation had “pinned great hopes” on Nawaz Sharif.

“I am a staunch believer of burying the hatchet and reconciling,” the PML-Q chief said and added that the party was already contemplating political alliances and seat adjustments.

He asserted that all political parties should now understand that only statements could not serve the masses and they must deliver for the good of the people.

Mr Shujaat also called for promoting unity and compassion in the society as well as shunning political victimisation and added that political leaders must play their role in this regard. He said PML-Q’s politics always revolved around public welfare.

“Ensuring relief for the public and protecting national interests was the shared responsibility of all politicians.”

Meanwhile, in a statement, PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shafay Hussain said the PML-N delegation led by Nawaz Sharif had visited Shujaat Hussain to inquire about his health and also discussed the overall political situation in the country.

“The PML-Q has already settled the matter of seat adjustment on four National Assembly and eight provincial assembly seats,” stated Mr Shafay Hussain. “The PML-Q candidates will contest elections on the ‘tractor’ election symbol,” he added.

Mr Shafay said the high-profile meeting had set the stage for a positive and constructive engagement. He said the PML-Q was not being merged into any other political party and would give a surprise in the next general elections.

“Ensuring basic human rights, controlling inflation, ending joblessness as well as Pakistan’s progress and prosperity is an integral part of PML-Q’s manifesto.”

Separately, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif also visited the residence of Sardar Tariq Mazari, the former speaker of the Punjab Assembly and a PML-N leader.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2023

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