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LAHORE, July 22: The only thing that is apparently keeping the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz away from entering an electoral alliance with Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (other than the PTI’s outright rejection) before the next general elections is bracketing of the party with the PPP as ‘plunderers of national wealth’ by Imran Khan.

The Pakistan People’s Party, on the other hand, though claiming to be unaffected by any realignment in political arena, finds it convenient to take on its opponents one at a time.

Political circles sympathetic to Muslim League-Nawaz, following Abdul Qadir Gilani’s victory over Shaukat Bosan, who enjoyed the backing of the PML-N, PTI and Jamaat-i-Islami in Multan’s NA-151 by-poll, are of the view that Nawaz and Imran should join hands if they wanted to stop the PPP from coming into power again.

However, as a ‘pre-condition’ for an alliance with the PTI, the PML-N wants Imran Khan to stop bracketing the party with the PPP.

“First Imran Khan should get serious (about such an alliance). He should start considering the PPP its arch political rival (and not the PML-N) and reset his party’s direction. Then we have no issue forging an alliance with the PTI to defeat the PPP in the next general elections,” PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid said.

Talking to Dawn on Sunday, Mr Rashid said the people wanted to get rid of the PPP and if Mr Khan was serious in doing so then he would have to reset his priorities.

“Mr Khan will have to stop sounding like Rehman Malik while targeting the PML-N leadership,” Mr Rashid advised the PTI chairman before exploring any possibility of the alliance between the two parties.

In Multan’s by-poll, the PML-N Senator said, the PTI in fact helped the PPP win the seat. “The PTI will have to quit double standards in politics if it is serious in bringing about any change,” Mr Rashid concluded. On the other hand, PTI central information secretary Shafqat Mahmood categorically rules out any possibility of the alliance.

“Alliance with the PML-N is simply out of question. No matter what happens we will not consider alliance with the PML-N. How can we think of shaking hand either with the PML-N or the PPP whose leaderships have plundered the people’s money?” he asked.

Mr Mahmood further said an alliance with either of these parties would actually be against the PTI’s basic philosophy as they had brought Pakistan to this stage. “Some elements after the Multan by-poll are propagating the PTI and PML-N should contest next general elections on one platform, otherwise it will benefit the PPP. In fact they are misleading the people,” Mr Mahmood said.

PPP Punjab deputy parliamentary leader Shaukat Basra said it would not make much difference to PPP if the PTI joined hands with the PML-N.

“The people have witnessed that we have defeated a candidate enjoying the backing of all anti-PPP forces, including the establishment.”

Mr Basra said if Mr Khan went for such an alliance or seat adjustment his politics would be over.

“The PPP will be the beneficiary in case the PTI contests next election independently,” Basra commented.