Ex-Pak foreign minister likely to join opposition

Pakistan`s former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is likely to quit ruling-PPP and join hands with opposition PML-N.

Lahore: Pakistan`s former foreign minister
Shah Mahmood Qureshi is likely to quit ruling-Pakistan People’s
Party (PPP) and join hands with opposition PML-N led by
ex-premier Nawaz Sharif.

In a changing political scenario, the PML-N has stepped
up efforts to woo disgruntled elements within the PPP
including those who differ with President Asif Ali Zardari`s
decision to forge an alliance with the PML-Q.

Qureshi has conveyed to Sharif that he will soon announce
his decision to join his party as there is no veracity in
reports that he would join cricketer-turned-politician Imran
Khan`s party, PML-N sources said.

Qureshi reportedly said he could not work under a
"junior" leader like Khan.

Similarly, several other PPP senior leaders of the Gujarat
area of Punjab are being wooed by the PML-N due to their
annoyance with the PPP leadership over its alliance with the

Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, PPP spokesman
Qamar Zaman Kaira and Sahibzada Gazanfar Gull of Gujrat are
not happy with the leadership for their alliance with the

The PML-N has also renewed contacts with the
Jamaat-e-Islami for an alliance for future elections and does
not want the Jamaat to join hands with Imran`s Pakistan
Tehrik-e-Insaf as this may damage the PML-N`s vote banks and
help the PPP.

PML-N lawmaker Pervaiz Rashid said that both PML-Q
and PPP leaders were contacting his party after seeing their
"dismal future" in the wake of the alliance between those two

"The bypoll result in Sahiwal district, in which the
PML-N candidate defeated a joint candidate of the PML-Q and
the PPP, is a prediction of what is going to happen in the
2013 election," he said.

Rashid also said the PML-N`s doors were open to those who
had no role in breaking the party in the past.

"A good number of PML-Q legislators are eager to come
back to the PML-N, but the party will take the decision at an
appropriate time," he said.

"We have also welcomed the (splinter group of the PML-Q)
but we have not yet given an assurance about awarding them
party tickets for the next general election," he said.

PML-N chief Sharif has shown "flexibility" in taking back
"deserters" like Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, president of the Awami
Muslim League.

"The ice melted at the All Parties Conference earlier
this month when Rashid asked Sharif to cool down and pardon
his former colleagues as they have realised their mistakes," a
PML-N insider said.

After that, Sharif asked his leaders not to issue
statements against the outspoken Shiekh.
Meanwhile, the PML-Q and the PPP claim the PML-N will be
losing its potential candidates, especially in Punjab, because
of the Sharif`s "stubborn" attitude towards his party leaders.

"The Sharifs say in the morning that they are ready to
make an alliance with the PML-Q if it quits the government but
in the evening they say otherwise," PML-Q spokesman Kamil Ali
Agha said.

The PML-N was facing "political isolation" because of its
"inconsistent" policies, he contended.

Agha said the Sharifs had joined hands with former
military ruler Pervez Musharraf after accepting his close
associates like Kashmala Tariq and Sumaira Malik.
"They should better stop giving sermons that they are
doing politics of principles," Agha said.

PPP leader Samiullah Khan joined Agha in dispelling the
impression that the PML-N had done something "extraordinary"
on the political front by winning the Sahiwal seat.
"Nawaz Sharif should stop dreaming on the result of just
one seat," Khan said.

He claimed more votes had been cast in the bypoll as
compared to the 2008 general election, showing the "art work"
of the PML-N in securing the maximum number of votes for its

Besides, he said, this constituency was among one of
those where candidate mattered more than the party.


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