PPP, PML-Q planning to neutralise Nawaz League

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One objective the PPP and the PML-Q share is their plan to neutralise the PML-N in the aftermath of the next general elections. As the PML-N lawmakers miss no opportunity to excoriate President Asif Ali Zardari, an unwritten understanding has developed between the heads of the PPP and the PML-Q that they will contest the next general elections against the common nemesis.
If not all 342 seats of the National Assembly, more than half would witness alliances between the candidates of the PPP and the PML-Q. The broad contours of this important political understanding would translate into a workable alliance near the general elections.
PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain revealed that the PPP would not field its candidate in the constituencies won by the PML-Q in the 2008 general elections. The Zardari-led party would put its weight in favour of the PML-Q candidates, primarily against PML-N candidates.
If that happens, the PML-Q might not only retain more than 50 National Assembly seats it currently occupies, but would possibly increase the toll.
Risk: “The alliance with the PPP was not an easy decision. We joined hands with them for the first time in 40 years. It was very risky, but we took the risk in the larger national interest,” Shujaat said.
He went on to explain how difficult and complicated the task to develop consensus within the ranks of the PML-Q was. “Many senior leaders and workers abhorred the idea of sitting with those whom they hated throughout their political careers. But they had to swallow the bitter pill for the sake of their own survival,” the PML-Q president said. Joined by Pervez Elahi, the PML-Q president had to hold marathon meetings with party senators, MNAs, MPAs and elders. They faced resistance but managed to convince them on forging alliance with the PPP.
“The PPP will not put its candidates on the seats we won last time. Similarly, we will support the PPP candidates on the seats they won in the 2008 general elections,” Shujaat said.
He believed the understanding would help both parties perform better in the next general elections and form their coalition governments in the Centre and all four provinces for an improved governance. History has witnessed that in traditional Pakistani politics a political party ruling Punjab province and playing opposition in the Centre had a win-win situation. It reaped the fruit of governing the most populous and politically important province while getting away with the burden of responsibility. The PML-N enjoys such a situation these days.
Under the unwritten understanding with the PPP, the PML-Q would get the backing of the PPP where its candidates were runner-ups against the PML-N candidates. The same formula would apply in case the PPP candidates stood second in the last general elections against the PML-N. Sources said the two ruling allies would formulate a strategy to neutralise the PML-N, the second largest party in the National Assembly with more than 90 seats, with great care and precision.
The PML-Q leaders said the target was to cause maximum damage to the PML-N in central Punjab and the urban centres. They were optimistic and also relied on the growing resentment of the electorates in Hazara and Saraiki belts against the PML-N.