Opposition set to exploit differences within the PML
By Qamar Jabbar
LAHORE: Opposition parties will join hands with dissenting groups within the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) for the third phase of the local council elections, sources told Daily Times on Sunday.
Sources said the joint opposition decided not to reveal the name of their consensus candidates till PML had finalised its candidates, keeping in view the differences within the PML over candidates to be nominated for Lahore nazim. They said that a three-member committee consisting of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s Hafiz Salman Butt, PML-Nawaz Khawaja Ahmad Hassan and Pakistan People’s Party Zakria Butt had been formed for negotiating with the dissenting groups.
The opposition has started negotiations with PML members Ikhlaq Guddu and Rohail Asghar, said sources. They claimed that if the ruling party ignored one of the PML members for Shalimar Town nazim, then the other one would join hands with the opposition. They said that Asghar was ready to negotiate with the opposition when the PML announced Guddu as its nazim candidate, however the ruling party withdrew Guddu’s nomination and approached Asghar again. “Guddu has assured the opposition that he would support their candidate in the elections if Asghar is declared the PML candidate,” they added.
According to sources, Mian Mehmood Rasheed and Abdul Rasheed Bhatti were not happy over the PML nomination of Sardar Kamal Umar for Allama Iqbal Town nazim. Bhatti has assured the opposition that he is ready to support them.
The PPP’s Ghurki is negotiating with Talib Sindhu and Mansha Sindhu to support Khalid Ghurki as Wagah Town nazim. The Sindhus wanted Shaukat Dogaran as the nazim candidate but the PML is considering Aashiq Dial. Maj (r) Rafique Hasrat is annoyed with the PML for nominating Sheikh Younas as the Nishtar Town nazim. The PPP has contacted Hasrat for his support for the opposition’s candidate.
Safdar Butt and Mian Amjad Iqbal are also negotiating with the opposition for its support during the time of district nazim elections in Samanabad Town and Gulberg Town.
Talking to Daily Times, a senior MMA leader said circumstances were favouring the opposition because of internal unrest within the PML. He said the opposition had decided to take full advantage of the PML’s infighting in the third phase of local council elections, adding, “The opposition wants to take over Lahore district nazim seat and is ready to join hands with dissenting groups within the PML.