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Nawaz camp unfazed by PPP, PML-Q bonhomie

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid may have joined hands against the federal government, but that has not alarmed the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz which has apparently adopted a wait-and-watch policy towards Asif Ali Zardari’s upcoming endeavours to be made public on Tuesday.

Zardari can’t bail out Nawaz: Imran

The top PML-N leadership is closely watching developments related to Sindh, particularly Karachi, while avoiding deciding not to politically engage PPP as a tiff between the two parties heightens and the Karachi operation continues at full pace.

“There has been little concern,” a PML-N insider said describing his party leadership’s reaction to PPP’s announcement of making its cards against the federal government public on December 27. PML-Q and PPP agreed to wage a collective campaign against the federal government when Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain met Zardari on Saturday, but failed to ‘terrify’ PML-N.

PML-N unlikely to buckle under PPP pressure

“The Q-League is a nonentity in Sindh and PPP’s reputation has been reduced to a similar level in Punjab. So, if PPP wants to up the ante against us in Sindh, support from PML-Q would not be a significant factor,” he said.

In case PPP announces it will launch protests on Tuesday, PML-N is likely to review its strategy and politically respond to the situation without reconciling with the opposition party, the source said.

Another party insider closely linked to the prime minister endorsed this view. “The option of reconciliation seems nowhere in sight. In case PPP goes for large-scale agitation, we also have plans—to reach out to our allies and mobilise their support to counter PPP.”

The wait-and-see policy, according to party stalwarts, also implies that PML-N would keep its policy unchanged in case PPP keeps relying on political parties like PML-Q against the federal government. However, if the mainstream and powerful opposition forces like PTI extend their support to the PPP, the move might ring alarm bells for the PML-N.

“Such a challenging scenario would necessitate the urgency to—do something—prompting us to reach out to political parties to counter the PPP’s move.”

Zardari returns to a different role

Speaking to The Express Tribune, senior PPP stalwart and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah welcomed PML-Q’s support for PPP. Asked if PPP had plans to launch protests against the federal government in Punjab in pursuit of its demands and seek the PML-Q’s support in this regard, Shah said the party’s plans would be made public on Tuesday. PPP, he said, would welcome the support of any party in pursuit of the four demands.

A PML-N source believed PPP joining hands with PML-Q had much to do with the latter’s traditional tilt towards the security establishment. “By inching closer to Q-League and knowing that Chaudhrys of Gujrat share a close equation with the security command, PPP actually wants to derive concessions in Karach,” the source said.

PML-Q President Chauhdry Shujaat said his party’s support for PPP was not something ‘out of the blue’. “PPP and PML-Q remained coalition partners during the previous regime and our party members held federal governmental portfolios. We supported one another. In the present circumstances, we believe the PPP has taken a principled stance and its four demands are legitimate and genuine. The PML-Q would extend its support to the PPP wherever and whenever needed.

courtesy : Express Tribune

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