In a significant development in the lead-up to general elections, PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari met with PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain at the latter’s residence on Thursday, hours after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced the last week of January as the election date. Election strategies including the possibility of forming an alliance and coordinated seat allocations in Punjab were discussed in the meeting.
The 40-minute meeting focused on the current political landscape of Pakistan with Zardari also inquiring about Sujaat’s health. While official details of their discussions were not disclosed, PPP’s central media cell took to X (former Twitter) to confirm the meeting, stating that Mr. Zardari had discussed the prevailing political situation with PML-Q President Shujaat Hussain.
As per the empowerment given to Zardari by the PPP executive committee to meet top political leaders to secure seat adjustments in Punjab, he has strategically positioned himself in Lahore to spearhead his efforts.
On the other hand, PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Organizer Maryam Nawaz will meet party leader Nawaz Sharif in London to discuss the changing political situation and to formulate election strategies.
Sources have told Dawn that PPP is considering seat adjustments not only with PML-N and PML-Q but also with PTI, as hinted at by its second-tier leadership. While senior PML-N leaders have maintained silence on the possibility of an alliance with PPP, lower-ranking leaders have expressed their opposition, arguing that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was created with the sole purpose of removing Imran Khan from power and completing the remainder of the previous government’s term.
Shujaat also suggested his former coalition allies, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), to avoid confrontations that he believes are detrimental to the country’s interests.
In response to Shujaat’s call for unity and harmony, Zardari asserted that his party had not contributed to any actions that could exacerbate political divisions. Zardari went on to emphasize that his party’s discourse was firmly anchored in constitutional principles and the ground realities of Pakistan, with no intentions of provoking confrontations with any political entities. Zardari further underscored the detrimental impact of escalating rhetoric and confrontations on the stability of the country.
Chaudhry Shujaa also conveyed his intention to engage with Nawaz Sharif, the supreme leader of the PML-N, to emphasize the need to avert unnecessary political hostilities.
Thursday’s meeting saw the presence of former federal minister Chaudhry Salik Hussain and PML-Q Punjab President Chaudhry Shafay Hussain. At this crucial juncture of alliance exploration, PPP General Secretary Nayyer Hussain Bukhari firmly announced that the party had no intentions of entering into electoral alliances with any other party.