In the run-up to the February 8 general elections in Pakistan, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif is embarking on a two-day visit to Balochistan, following the party’s strategy to form alliances in all provinces.
The move aligns with the recent invitation extended by senior MQM-P leaders to the party to forge an alliance against the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in Sindh.
Sources reveal that during a visit to Lahore, Balochistan leaders urged Nawaz Sharif to visit Quetta and align with them for the upcoming polls, as per Dawn.
“Since some of the BAP leaders earlier remained with the PML-N and incumbent Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, a former member of BAP, had a good working relationship with PML-N, the party of Sharifs may not face much problems in exploring strategic partners in Balochistan ahead of the polls,” they said.
The party is eyeing at least 25 sardars/electables from Balochistan, crucial players in the region’s elections.
PML-N Balochistan chapter president Sheikh Jaffar Khan Mandokhail said Mr Sharif would hold meetings with PkMAP Chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai, National Party President Dr Malik Baloch, former CM Jam Kamal and BAP leaders, including Nawabzada Khalid Magsi, Sardar Muhammad Saleh Bhootani and some of the party’s senators, ex-MNAs and MPAs.
Nawaz Sharif will also attend an event in which various ‘electables’ will announce joining PML-N, including former MNAs and MPAs belonging to BAP.
Tension arises in PMLN
Meanwhile, in Muzaffargarh, internal tensions arise within the PML-N as former municipal committee chairman Akram Chandia and his brother Ajmal Chandia join the party, potentially securing tickets for the upcoming elections.
The move has irked former PML-N MPA Hamad Nawaz Tipu, who announced his candidacy, vying for both MPA and National Assembly seats.
On the National Assembly seat, he lost to PPP’s Mehr Irshad Sial, who received 53,054 votes, with the runner-up being Jamshed Dasti securing 50,566 votes. Mr Tipu stood third with 47,642 votes. The MPA election also witnessed a close contest where winner Abdul Hayee Dasti received 17,686 votes, followed by Ajmal Chandia with 17,669 votes and Mr Tipu with 16,358 votes.
Ajmal Chandia was a candidate for PP-270 as a candidate of Jamshed Dasti’s party in the 2018 elections and stood as the runner-up behind Abdul Hayee Dasti.
While Mr Tipu and the Chandia brothers are in contention for the PML-N ticket, former MPA Chunnu Laghari has also announced joining the PML-N, and he is unlikely to face any resistance in obtaining an MPA ticket under Basit Sultan’s National Assembly constituency in Jatoi tehsil.
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif’s son Hamza Shehbaz said the Feb 8 polls were going to be the most difficult ones in the country’s history.
Talking to journalists in Lahore on Monday, the PML-N leader said all parties should work together to steer the country out of crisis.
In reply to a question about the role of the establishment and the PML-N’s relations with it, he said it was a good sign if the establishment supported the government.
“It is also a good thing if there are cordial relations with the establishment,” Hamza added.
Asked whether Nawaz Sharif was new blue-eyed of the military establishment, Hamza said: “When I was in the opposition, the people would call Imran Khan their blue-eyed.”