LAHORE – There appears to be a major shift in country’s electoral politics as the political parties are now more inclined to making electoral adjustments instead of alliances with the like-minded parties.
Despite start of electioneering, it is unclear which parties would enter into what kind of alliances. They are still weighing their options, perhaps waiting for the caretakers to take charge of the government affairs.
The opposition parties as well as those in the ruling alliance are not sure if they would be contesting the upcoming polls jointly. However, the ANP and the MQM, which had been allied with the PPP for almost five years, have started distancing themselves from the latter.
In this background, the statement by ANP chief Asfandyar Wali is very important. He declared on Monday that his party would go into elections independently. Farooq Sattar’s statement that MQM was less likely to make an election alliance with the PPP is also significant.
Similarly, the PML-N, the main opposition party, is less likely to form an electoral alliance with any of the parties. Though it is in contact with the PML-F, nationalist parties, JUI-F and JI, the chances of an electoral alliance among these parties seem to be bleak. But these parties may make seat adjustments. The position of Imran’s PTI is even more unclear, though it is in contact with the JI for a possible alliance.
The religious parties also seem divided at the moment. There is little or no chance of an electoral alliance between them, given the difference of opinion among them on host of issues. All efforts made by PML-F chief Fazalur Rehman for revival of MMA have borne no fruit so far. If Jamat-e-Islami is looking towards PML-N for seat adjustments, the JUI-F is indecisive to choose between the PPP and the PML-N. Sunni Tehreek may align with the PPP.
At this stage, the PPP and the PML-Q seem to be the only parties which have somewhat clear idea of going into the elections through mutual adjustment. But since the situation would change a lot after the advent of caretakers, complications may arise even in this alliance, forcing them to make compromises on their seat adjustment agreement. The two parties are already having much trouble in implementing the political accord they had signed to jointly contest the coming polls.
Political analysts believe it is highly likely that different political parties would remain confined to making seat adjustments only and that too at the eleventh hour.
When contacted, Senator Zahid Khan said that ANP had contested the last elections independently and was thinking of following the same pattern. He, however, said that ANP would be open to making seat adjustments with the PPP and other parties.
JUI-F Central Information Secretary ‘Moulana’ Amjad told TheNation that his party had not made any decision to make seat adjustments with any party, though offers from different parties including the PPP and the PML-N were on the table. He said it would have been an ideal situation had the religious parties forged an election alliance under the MMA umbrella.