LAHORE – The PML-N and JUI-F have reached an understanding to jointly contest the next elections at a meeting of the leaders of the two opposition parties at Raiwind on Monday.
Led by its Ameer, Fazlur Rahman, a delegation of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl called on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Nawaz Sharif. Both parties decided to cooperate in the elections and forming of committees to chalk out the modalities of the alliance.
The PML-F also invited Nawaz to the All Parties Conference they are going to hold in Islamabad on February 28. Nawaz accepted the invitation and extended cooperation of his party for the continuation of the democratic system, free and fair elections, and eradication of terrorism from the country.
Both the sides on the occasion held detailed discussion on the current political situation, upcoming elections and law and order situation besides other matters of mutual interest. They agreed to move jointly in the next elections for which separate committees on both sides will be formed to work out the nitty-gritty as well as modalities of their electoral cooperation.
The PML-N and the JUI-F also shared views on the caretaker prime minister and interim setup and decided that views of all opposition parties will be obtained before finalising two names for this slot.
The JUI-F team also included Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Amjad Khan, Rashid Ludhianvi and Riaz Durrani. The PML-N team included Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Ch Nisar Ali Khan, Ishaq Dar, Raja Zafarul Haq and Iqbal Zafar Jhagra.
The coming together of the two parties is very significant development as it is for the first time in the electoral history of the country that PML-N and JUI-F have joined hands for election and they would surely give tough time to the ANP, the PPP and the PML-Q in the next polls particularly in Khyber PK and Balochistan.
The leaders of both the parties sounded confident that the next elections will be held on time in a transparent manner, though certain elements were out to sabotage them. They vowed to frustrate every effort of such elements.
Talking to media after the meeting, Nawaz Sharif said Fazlur Rahman is a staunch believer of democracy hence “we regard him our friend”. However, he said ‘closeness and distance’ is a part of politics. He both parties will play their role for strengthening the democratic institutions.
Nawaz said the meeting has decided that the interim setup at the federal and the provincial level will be put in place with the consensus of all opposition parties inside and outside the parliament. Nawaz said if consensus is not reached, the majority decision as per the principle of democracy should be accepted.
Nawaz termed the JUI-F peace jirga (for Fata) a positive step, saying that peace is a dire need in the region for progress and development. He said his party would attend the APC and sources said Nawaz had named Nisar, Jhagra and Raja Zafarul Haq as the PML-N delegates to that conference.
Fazl said that despite political differences, the politicians remain friends with one another stays. Besides discussing electoral cooperation during the meeting, they also decided that both the parties will develop consensus on the interim set up, he added. Fazlur Rahman thanked Nawaz Sharif for accepting invitation to attend the APC.
In reply to a question, Fazl said the offer of talks by Taliban was a positive development and it should be responded in a positive way. He said it was necessary that all the political forces should devise a collective stance about talks with the Taliban before considering the issue as to who would be the guarantor for the Taliban.
On this occasion, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the PML-N was holding consultations with other opposition parties about caretaker prime minister. He said constitutionally, consultation between the PM and him (Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly) will be held when the assembly would be dissolved.