LAHORE: The Pakistan People’s Party led by President Asif Ali Zardari has started short-listing its candidates, especially in Punjab, without consulting its ally, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid.
The PML-Q, on the other hand, has declared that it is not ready for talks with the PPP on seat adjustment unless its reservations are addressed.
According to sources, the PPP has kicked off the process in anticipation of a possibility that the PML-Q may not be its ally in the general election.
“After the results of recent by-polls in which their alliance could not perform well in Punjab, some leaders of both parties have started suggesting to their leadership to better go into the general elections on their own,” the sources said, adding that PPP’s move to start the short-listing process was a part of this plan.
“Time is running out. We are left with hardly three months before the interim set-up takes charge but the talks between the PPP and PML-Q on seat adjustment have been suspended. In such a scenario, not only the PPP but the PML-Q also has started working out its plan in case it has to go into the elections on its own,? the sources said.
President Asif Ali Zardari and PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Husain had formed committees headed by Manzoor Wattoo and Moonis Elahi to agree on joint candidates for both national and provincial assemblies’ seats in Punjab. But the committees met only once about two months ago.
“There is no use of meeting the PPP committee unless our reservations are addressed,” PML-Q information secretary Senator Kamil Ali Agha said.
When asked whether the role of Manzoor Wattoo was responsible for the situation, Senator Agha said: “We also have issues in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and leaders of my party will soon discuss the mater with President Zardari.”
Replying to a question about Deputy Prime Minister Pervaiz Elahi’s meeting with PML-F chief Pir Sibghatullah Shah Rashidi, which is being seen as a move to explore other alliance options, Senator Agha said his party would like to remain in contact with other parties.
A Punjab PPP leader said relations between the PPP and PML-Q had become less that ‘ideal’ since the recent by-elections.
“We have witnessed in the by-elections that PML-Q voters would not vote for a PPP candidate and vice versa. This reality has forced us to go for a solo flight,” he said.
A spokesman for Manzoor Wattoo, chief of the Punjab PPP, said a meeting between committees of the allied parties had not been scheduled, but the alliance would remain intact. Wattoo had earlier said that the committees would meet by the end of December.