PML-N and MQM-P agree to contest elections jointly
Move comes as Nawaz Sharif eyes a broader nationwide representation for his party
LAHORE/KARACHI (Dunya News/Web Desk) – The PML-N and the MQM on Tuesday decided to contest the upcoming elections jointly as the party leaders addressed a press conference after holding talks on a range of political and economic issues concerning Pakistan and Karachi.
Speaking on the occasion, PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique said they would have consultations on legal, constitutional and other matters, adding that the country required a comprehensive course of action to tackle the multiple challenges.
On his part, Dr Farooq Sattar of MQM-P said both sides would formulate a joint strategy for Feb 8 elections and stressed no single party could tackle the issues that Pakistan was experiencing.
Mustafa Kamal noted that three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif was considered the most senior politician of the region and no one could match his experience, as he thanked the PML-N leadership, including Maryam Nawaz, for the hospitality extended to them.
Bashir Memon – the newly-appointed president of PML-N Sindh – told reporters that talks would be held with other parties too for mutual collaborations in the next year’s elections, promising to take all possible steps for the betterment of Sindh.
Answering a question, Rafique said they would also hold talks with the PML-F, led by Pir Pagara, and added that they would share good news [about electoral alliances] in the coming days.
When asked about the nomination of Memon as the provincial chief, he described Memon as the law-abiding person who did not bend before pressure [during the PTI rule] and never compromised on principles.
Earlier, the visiting MQM delegation – led by Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui – held talks with Nawaz and other PML-N leaders at the party’s Model Town headquarters for developing an understanding that could lead them to a sustained cooperation.
WHAT IS ON OFFER?
A major breakthrough was already being expected, which could change the political landscape in the urban centres of Sindh, as sources earlier said the PML-N would offer the MQM-P seat adjustment in the upcoming general elections with an aim to ensure a permanent role in the politics of Karachi and other urban centres of the province.
It must be mentioned that the PML-N always has had a potential to attract Urdu-speaking voters but failed to materialise the goal due to various reasons – including a weak party organisation and the desire to avoid political confrontation with the PPP.
However, the PML-N is currently focused on developing a national outlook by winning seats in all the provinces and regions to dispel the impression that the party is limited to the central and upper Punjab.
On the other hand, the MQM-P too requires a partnership given the divisions within its ranks and the PML-N offers the best option because of the PPP’s poor governance record.
With Karachi housing a large population of voters from all parts of Pakistan, any understanding with the MQM-P over seat adjustment for national and provincial assemblies’ seat will provide a great opportunity to challenge the PPP in Sindh.
The announcement comes after the PML-N leaders had openly talked about an electoral alliance with the MQM-P and the JUI-F. But later it emerged that Memon – who has recently joined the party – had also contacted Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) leader Pir Pagara for electoral collaboration.
On the other hand, the PML-N has nominated Memon as the party’s Sindh chapter president with an aim to make the provincial leadership independent of Lahore’s influence for decision making.
Persistent interference by the PML-N central leaders in Sindh is the main criticism that the party has been facing and this decision can help it reach voters across the province.