PML-Q meeting in Islamabad today
LAHORE, Feb 3: The Pakistan Muslim League-Q has convened a meeting of party elders in Islamabad on Monday (today) to discuss its policy for electoral adjustments with the Pakistan People’s Party as President Asif Zardari has authorised Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to hold talks with the PML-Q leadership.
The PPP-Q League electoral talks had hit snags after President Zardari tasked his party’s Punjab president Manzoor Wattoo to hold the parleys.
The change of the PPP interlocutor came as a godsend for the PML-Q which has been struggling to keep loyalties of its electables intact.
“Many of the party’s MPs have been in contact with the PML-N, the PTI and even the PPP, a coalition ally. And delay in initiation of formal talks for electoral alliance or seat adjustments has been making them shaky about their chances of victory against the PML-N if the PPP refused to support them in the polls,” a senior party leader confided to Dawn.
He said now when the parleys with the PPP were going to take place shortly, the party leadership would be better placed to check the ‘defections’.
According to him, party president Chaudhry Shujaat was already holding individual contacts with the likely defectors, particularly from the south Punjab, and assuring them of prominent positions and say in the future setup, both in the party and in the government if the present ruling allies managed to keep their lead over the PML-N.
Constituencies of these ‘disgruntled’ MPs were also being specially taken care of by providing them development funds to build infrastructure there and provide them gas supply on a priority, he added.
Besides settling affairs with various disgruntled biradaries in the province, he said, the younger lot of the families whose elder members had switched loyalties was also being approached to persuade them to contest the polls from the PML-Q platform so that it could lay claim to at least 60 to 70 National Assembly seats in the electoral alliance/adjustment talks with the PPP.
The Q League leader said his party was also pinning hopes on its defectors who would be denied tickets by the PML-N and the PTI as “they would have no options but to return to our folds.”
It is for this reason, he said, that the party was delaying finalisation of its list of candidates and it’s ready to accommodate the “birds returning to their nests”.