Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Senate Elections :PPP, PML-N, PML-Qand MQM jostle to make alliances

PML-N left out in the cold by tactical PPP maneuvering !
Ishartul Ebad being accorded the slot of Senate Chairman, and City Nazim Mustafa Kamal being given the slot of Sindh Governor.

The Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have started manoeuvring for making new alliances in preparation for Senate elections which are due in March.

Sources said that the Pakistan Muslim League — Quaid (PML-Q), the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the PPP are likely to form an alliance and efforts would be made to extend more cooperation to the MQM. Sources said this would be done to thwart attempts from the PML-N to launch a political campaign in PPP-dominated Sindh.

PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif is expected to visit Sindh before the Senate elections to mount political pressure on the PPP. It may be noted that National Reconciliation Bureau (NRB) Chairman Dr Asim Hussain has arranged a meeting in Dubai between President Asif Ali Zardari, federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Babar Ghauri (from the MQM) and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain of the PML-Q. Besides, they are also in touch with MQM chief Altaf Hussain in London.

Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, who often plays the role of mediator, is expected to reach Dubai in the next 24 hours.

Sources said that this emerging alliance is also meant to counter any political reaction or pressure from the PML-N, and the PPP was not leaving any option open regarding the court judgment in the Nawaz Sharif case. On the other hand, sources said, the Saudi government was trying to enact some rapprochement between the PPP and the PML-N, because during his recent visit a Saudi prince had met Zardari and Sharif to bring them closer.

Moreover, a leading UAE figure, Nasir Loota, has close relations with President Zardari and he had recently met him at the President House in Islamabad. Sources further said that the PML-N was also trying to make a new alliance for which it contacted Jamat-e-Islami Amir Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and nationalist parties.

The visit of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer to Karachi and his meetings with MQM leaders was also meant to mount pressure on the PML-N before the Senate elections. There is also speculation about the likelihood of Ishartul Ebad being accorded the slot of Senate Chairman, and City Nazim Mustafa Kamal being given the slot of Sindh Governor. Dr Hussain is also one of the candidates for the post of Sindh governor but he may also be vying for a Senate seat.

An MQM spokesman said they were waiting for the outcome of the Dubai meeting. Meanwhile, the statement of the Punjab governor during his recent visit to Karachi, where he categorically stated that the PPP government would not roll back the local government system, conveyed a good message to the MQM.

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