United Pakistan Muslim League?!

The ‘marriage of convenience’ between the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has ended up in divorce. The PML-N on Monday (August 25) formally pulled out of the coalition government. Their representatives will henceforth sit on the Opposition benches in parliament.

In a press conference at Punjab House, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif showed the media a copy of the agreement made with the PPP – on which the PPP later backtracked – outlining the steps intended to be taken for the impeachment of then president Pervez Musharraf and restoration of the deposed judges. Mr Sharif said that he was left with no choice but to snap ties with the PPP. “It was a tough decision which we had to take. We made many efforts to keep this alliance alive,” he said.

All eyes are now set on the presidential elections, scheduled for September 6. The PML-N has nominated Justice (retd) Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui for the office of president while Mr Asif Zardari is the presidential candidate of the PPP. Efforts are now being made to unite the various factions of the Pakistan Muslim League.

Makhdoom Javed Hashmi called Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Monday morning to discuss a possible unification of the PML-N and PML(Q). The latter has nominated Mushahid Hussain Sayed as its presidential candidate. If it decides to withdraw Mushahid’s candidacy and support Justice (retd) Siddiqui’s candidacy, it would pose a grave threat to Mr Zardari’s election. Here, it is pertinent to note Mushahid’s recent statement in which he said, “Pakistan Muslim League is like a family, which can be united at any time.” The statement was a strong hint at back-channel talks between the PML-N and PML(Q).

In the Senate, PML(Q) has 38 seats, PML-N has 4 while the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has 5. If Senators from the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) decide to vote in favour of PML-N’s presidential candidate, Justice (retd) Siddiqui would be able to get 52-53 votes. In the National Assembly, the PPP, MQM and the ANP have 163 seats, but if PML(Q) decides to vote for PML-N’s candidate, the PML-N would have the support of around 150 MNAs. The future of the presidential election now depends on the JUI-F, which has 16 seats in the Senate and 7 in the National Assembly, while having a considerable clout in the Balochistan Assembly. Elected members of Fata will also play an important role in the elections.

Whether Mr Asif Ali Zardari becomes the President of Pakistan or not, only time will tell. But the unification of the Pakistan Muslim League will surely rock the PPP-led government’s boat. If the PML-N and PML(Q) unite, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan will become the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. A strong Opposition and a weak government at the Centre seem to be in the offing. Unification of Pakistan Muslim League will surely change the political scenario in future; as the next elections will definitely see a strong ruling party.

Comments

Devika Narain said…
Hi Mehmal,
I am an Indian blogger with political concerns the same as yours. I think even though we come from the other side of he border, we have a lot in common. I couldnt find any other way to contact you but I would really like to invite you to publish your views at my blog. My blog is stopthissiege.blogspot.com and my email id is dnarain @ gmail.
I thought your blog was very well written. Hope to hear from you soon.
Best,
Devika Narain

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