PPP, PML-N unable to decide on joint candidates

Both parties are unable to finalise a strategy for contesting the by-polls

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has been unable to reach an agreement with its former foe, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), in regard to selecting joint candidates for two constituencies.

PPP Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira confirmed that the party has yet to decide on the joint candidates proposal, which may be indicative of a lack of consensus amid the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) parties to contest next month’s by-elections jointly.

Kaira has repeatedly said since last week that the part would finalise the matter within a few days, but the issue still not to arrived at a resolution.

The last date for candidate withdrawals on January 20 and the final candidates would receive their election symbols the day after.

By-polls in PP-51 Wazirabad (Gujranwala district) and NA-75 Daska (Sialkot) of Gujranwala division are scheduled to be held on February 19. These seats fell vacant after the deaths of MNA Iftikharul Hassan alias Zahry Shah and MPA Shaukat Manzoor Cheema in June and August, respectively.

Both former seat-holders were PML-N lawmakers.

PPP leader Hasan Murtaza told a local news outlet that the PPP did not agree with the formula proposed by PML-N, adding that the PPP does “expect the PML-N to support our candidate in the area”.

“The PPP never proposed to resign,” he said in regard to the PDM plan of tendering resignations, adding, “We in fact have announced to battle it out in all platforms.”

“Tendering resignations is the last option,” he added.

Reportedly, the PPP does not plan to withdraw its candidates in areas where it expects favourable outcomes in the by-polls. Furthermore, Murtaza told a local news outlet that his party would want to contest the by-election in PP-51 Wazirabad.

Last week, the PML-N had announced to field candidates from its party at NA-75 Sialkot (Daska), PP-51 Gujranwala (Wazirabad) and PK-69 Nowshere. On the other had, it had said that it would not to field its candidates in Sindh to back the PPP.

Separately, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), while campaigning in PS-88 Malir, said the PPP was to blame for converting the fertile fields of Malir into barren land, calling the local PPP leaders as frontmen of the ‘Reti Bajri mafia’. 

Addressing a press conference, PTI Central Vice President Haleem Adil Shaikh said his party was not against development but it would not allow the common man to be harmed in any way for the sake of development.

A day earlier, PPP Information Secretary Shazia Atta Marri had said that Information Minister Shibli Faraz wanted to hide the “incapability and failure of this government on every front”.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan got his own illegal palace regularized in Banigala but snatched roof from the poor people in the name of encroachment,” she said in a statement.

Marri added: “Shibli Faraz instead of criticising opposition should tell the truth to the people about bad performance of the government. This incapable government has made the lives of common people miserable.”

It is pertinent to mention that the PPP went head to head with the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) the by-elections on Umerkot’s PS-52 Sindh Assembly seat on Monday.

PPP leader Syed Ameer Ali Shah and GDA leader Arbab Ghulam Rahim had locked horns after the the seat was vacated by the death of former provincial minister Syed Ali Mardan Shah.


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