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Zardari directs party leaders to make alliance with all but PTI

Former president Asif Ali Zardari (c) while being presented a gift by KP Governor Haji Ghulam Ali at the Governor’s House in Peshawar on December 17, 2023. — Facebook/Haji Ghulam Ali Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

PESHAWAR: Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday met Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa leaders and discussed strategy for the upcoming general elections including making alliances with political parties.

During the meetings, the former president directed the PPP leaders not to enter into an alliance with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the polls, The News quoted the sources as saying. 

Besides PTI, the PPP co-chairperson said the local leadership had the prerogative to make alliances with other political parties.

Zardari stayed at the Governor House “for security concerns” during his visit to KP. He met KP Governor Haji Ghulam Ali as well. 

Several Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) leaders, PPP ticket holders and workers also called on Zardari. Governor Ghulam Ali and Mayor Peshawar Zubair Ali presented the traditional shawl and other gifts to the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian president.

Meanwhile, PPP’s senior leaders also ruled out an election alliance with the PTI in KP. “We never brought under discussion alliance with PTI in our meeting with party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday,” said PPP leader and former MPA Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha.

He told The News that they held an online meeting with the PPP chairman and discussed the credentials of candidates, who had applied for the party tickets, for the upcoming election.

The PPP KP parliamentary board meeting was also attended by Faryal Talpur, who is the head of the PPP Women Wing.

The meeting discussed the credentials of candidates who had submitted applications for the party tickets. A PPP leader and former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, former deputy speaker of the National Assembly Faisal Karim Kundi, Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha and Rubina Khalid also attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, another PPP leader, Ziaullah Afridi, denied reports that the former president visited KP to discuss differences in the party.

“There is no truth to these reports that Asif Ali Zardari came to KP to discuss differences or any issues within the party. I had invited him to my son’s wedding ceremony and he accepted it,” Afridi told The News.

He said he had arranged a room in his house for Asif Zardari to stay with him but security officials did not recommend it for safety concerns.

“We then requested Governor Ghulam Ali and he was pleased to host the former president in the Governor’s House. He spent the night in the president’s room in the Governor’s House and then joined us in the morning at the wedding ceremony,” said the PPP leader.

Meanwhile, former federal minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi joined the PPP again.

After meeting Zardari, the religious scholar and former federal minister joined the PPP. A well-known religious scholar Ahmed Saeed Kazmi also joined the party.

The former president congratulated Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Ahmed Saeed Kazmi, along with others, for joining the PPP. Party Secretary General Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood and Abdul Qadir Shaheen were also present.

PML-Q denies seat adjustment with N

On the other hand, Pakistan Muslim League Quaid leader Chaudhry Salik Hussain categorically denied any seat adjustment between his party and PM-N. Addressing the media, he emphasised PML-Q’s independence in its electoral pursuits. Salik Hussain asserted it was useless to accuse Nawaz Sharif of being a Ladla. “In Pakistan, there is always someone who is pampered. The accusers are being pampered and those who are accused are also being pampered,” he claimed.

Salik said it was good that PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz visited Gujrat but warned against relying on outdated formulas for national change, emphasising the need for innovation.

Despite the PPP’s limited popularity in Central Punjab, Ch Salik Hussain highlighted the positive relations maintained with it. He said that there was no room for election delay and confidently predicted that the elections would proceed as scheduled.

Affirming the PML-Q’s decision to contest the elections independently, the former federal minister underscored the party’s strong position in various districts, particularly Gujrat and Bahawalpur. He clarified that there have been no seat adjustment talks with any other political entity. Salik revealed the party’s aim to contest for 6-7 National and 12-14 provincial assembly seats.

The former minister said the PML-Q’s influence extends beyond traditional strongholds, with strong candidates identified in KP and Sindh. Ch Shujaat Hussain’s political legacy, characterised by fostering positive relationships, was acknowledged by Salik Hussain. He reiterated the importance of providing equal opportunities for every political party to participate in the elections.

Dispelling rumours surrounding the recent meeting of the Sharif brothers, Chaudhry Salik clarified that it was a casual gathering devoid of political discussions.

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