Lahore: The brother of a key Pakistani federal minister has joined the main opposition PML-N headed by Nawaz Sharif in the run-up to the next general election, giving a jolt to the ruling Pakistan People`s Party.
Ahmed Saeed, the brother of Water and Power Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, joined the PML-N yesterday after a meeting with Sharif.
Saeed was a close aide of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
Mukhtar, a business tycoon, is considered to be close to President Asif Ali Zardari, who heads the ruling PPP.
Following his brother`s decision to join the PML-N, there are now reports that Mukhtar too is seriously contemplating the option of quitting the PPP if Zardari does not award him a ticket to contest the next election from Gujrat in Punjab province.
Mukhtar was elected to Parliament in the 2008 polls from Gujrat, the traditional stronghold of PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.
Some reports have suggested that Zardari may not put up a PPP candidate in Gujrat to oblige the PML-Q, which is now a key ally in the PPP-led ruling coalition.
Sources said Mukhtar had developed differences with the PPP leadership as he believes too much importance is being given to PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.
On the other hand, the PML-N is banking on Saeed to counter the PML-Q leaders in Gujrat district.
Though Saeed contested polls only in 1977, it is believed he is the real political force and strategist behind the electoral successes of Mukhtar.
Saeed`s entry into the PML-N is expected to serve as a morale booster for party activists in Gujrat, where it lacks a big name and a dependable candidate.
Senior PML-N leader Khwaja Asif said his party may be able to find a winning combination for Gujarat, where the PML-Q leaders have been holding sway, particularly after entering into an alliance with the PPP.
In the past, Saeed served as chairman of the state-run Pakistan International Airlines during the rule of Musharraf, who came to power after ousting Nawaz Sharif`s government in a military coup in 1999.