Fazl reaches Lahore to meet Nawaz, convince him to attend APC | Pakistan Today

Fazl reaches Lahore to meet Nawaz, convince him to attend APC

–Marriyum says no date fixed for All Parties Conference yet, talks with JUI-F chief at ‘initial level’

ISLAMABAD: The All Parties Conference (APC) to be convened by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman appears to be in doldrums as the leaders of the two major opposition parties – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – are reluctant to attend it.

However, Fazl on Friday reached Lahore and is likely to meet PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif over the weekend and convince him to personally attend the moot.

It seems as if Fazl would have to cancel the date given for the APC as leaders of both PML-N and PPP are in two minds regarding the meeting. There are remote chances of both Nawaz and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari attending the moot and is a strong possibility that JUI-F would have to reschedule the APC that for now is due on October 31.

Sources in PML-N have told Pakistan Today that Fazl tried to contact Nawaz on Friday to plan a meeting but failed to receive a favourable response.

A senior leader in PML-N told this scribe that Nawaz was reluctant to attend the moot as he did not want to share the stage with Zardari, who had recently closed doors on Shehbaz Sharif by refusing any meeting to discuss the possibility of fielding joint candidates for the slots of the prime minister and National Assembly speaker.

“Moreover, Nawaz also does not want to affect his legal woes. He doesn’t look ready for the challenge anytime soon as his cases are still pending with the court,” the leaguer said.

Meanwhile, a JUI leader said that if Fazl was unable to convince Nawaz to attend APC, Zardari and PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would also skip the meeting.

“If Nawaz sends a delegation to the APC, it would be a wastage of resources and time as it would only be a delegation-level meeting and there won’t be any breakthrough as desired by Fazl,” the JUI leader told Pakistan Today.

When contacted, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the discussion between Nawaz and Fazl was at an “initial level”.

To a question, she said that no date for the APC had yet been shared by the JUI chief.

When told that media reports claimed the moot was scheduled for October 31, Aurangzeb said that the reports were “unauthentic”.

“Party-level talks are to be held first and no other decision has yet been made,” she said.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]

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