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HYDERABAD/MIRPURKHAS, March 27: PML-Likeminded President Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim announced on Wednesday renaming his party as the Peoples Muslim League and ruled out an electoral alliance with the PML-F or any other political party.

He said that time for such an alliance was well past and now he could only consider seat-to-seat adjustment. He can act as a bridge between different parties during elections which are poised to throw up split mandate.

Addressing a news conference in Qasimabad on Wednesday before leaving for Mirpurkhas, Dr Arbab said that PML-F leaders Ghaus Bux Khan Mahar, Khuda Bux Rajar and Jadam Mangrio had met him after his arrival in Hyderabad and Sindh United Party’s Roshan Buriro and Dodo Maheri had also made contacts but told them that the time for the alliance had passed.

“It is now time for filing papers and even seat adjustments can be considered after nominations have been finalised,” he said.

He said that the PPP had contacted him during exile and made certain offers but he did not consider any of them because he was at the receiving end at that time and people might have construed that he had given in. “Now is the time to talk to everyone,” he said.

He praised the caretaker administration for providing him security, which, he said, he might not have received had he returned in the PPP government. He hoped all political forces would now have a level playing field under the caretaker set-up and an increasingly assertive election commission.

He admitted that he was disliked for his bluntness. “I never mince words to make my point and that’s why (most) people do not like me,” he said.

He dismissed the PPP mandate of 2008 as sympathy vote. “People saw that those who were branded ‘qatil’ league were given share in the government, and the MQM which was criticised for so many things was also made an ally,” he said.

He defended his decision of carving out new districts and said the PPP had five years to undo the decision but it did not do so because people were opposed to the move.

The government did try to restore old districts but it had to back down when people reacted strongly, he said, adding he would accept results of the upcoming elections and expected the same from his opponents.

He said he had trust in the caretaker government and had no objections to political governors. He opposed delimitation and said “it should not be carried out on the basis of language, party or ethnicity”. He said that he was against handing over Sindh’s islands to the federal government but he had no objection to their development on condition all earning from the project be given to Sindh.

Dr Arbab announced renaming his party as the Peoples Muslim League while addressing a large public meeting at the Gama Stadium in Mirpurkhas.

People should celebrate the days after the dissolution of the PPP government as Yaum-i-Nijat because they had now got rid of an oppressive regime.

He accused the outgoing government of large-scale corruption and plunder of national resources during its five-year rule. It favoured certain people with sugar mills and wine shops, he said.

He said that his party had made an alliance with the PML-N but retained its separate identity and asked people to vote for candidates of his new party.

Dr Arbab counted achievements of his government and said when he was chief minister he used to visit canals and distributaries in remote areas to ensure water reached till the tail-end. He allocated funds among the districts without discrimination but given more to Mirpurkhas, he said.