Lahore: Pakistan`s main opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has expressed readiness for an alliance with his arch-rival Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain`s PML-Q provided it parted ways with the ruling PPP.
Makhdoom Ahmad Mehmood, a landlord politician of Rahim Yar Khan district in Punjab province, conveyed the PML-N chief`s message in this regard to Hussain, who had served as premier during the previous military regime.
Mehmood, a leader of the PML-F party, is considered to be very close to former prime minister Sharif and his brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Mehmood told Hussain and his cousin, federal minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, that the ice had melted and Sharif had expressed his willingness to forge an alliance between the PML-N and PML-Q.
"Joining hands with the Sharifs means you will have to say goodbye to the PPP right away and discuss matters related to a future set-up or fresh elections," a source privy to the developments said.
The PML-Q was formed by leaders who broke away from the erstwhile Pakistan Muslim League when Sharif`s government was deposed in a military coup in 1999.
Mehmood said Sharif had proposed the name of veteran journalist Majid Nazami, the editor of the rightwing Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt, as guarantor of the alliance between PML-N and PML-Q.
However, the source said Hussain told Mehmood that if Sharif publicly promised not to ditch the PML-Q at any point, he was ready to hold talks with Sharif.
"Hussain and his cousin Elahi also told Sharif`s messenger that he (Sharif) is not a reliable person and no one is ready to give a guarantee that he will keep his words," the source said.
The source further said the PML-N did not want to use the option of getting its members to resign from the national and provincial assemblies to force the government to hold an early general election and believed that it could achieve its goals if the PML-Q quits the PPP-led government.
"The PML-Q leadership is seeing Sharif`s offer as a trap," the source said. Makhdoom Ahmad Mehmood said he met Hussain and his cousin as part of his own efforts to unite all the factions of the Pakistan Muslim League.
"It is my initiative and I had no specific direction from Nawaz Sharif," he said.
He said if all the PML factions, especially those led by Nawaz Sharif and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, were united, no other party had the potential of beating them.
"The voters of the Pakistan Muslim League want the merger of all factions," he said.
Asked about strong differences between Sharif and Hussain, Mehmood said there could be no "last word" in politics.
Senior PML-Q leader and federal minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi said that Mehmood had met his party`s leadership and discussed the possibility of PML-N and PML-Q forming an alliance.
Asked whether the PML-Q was considering the option of quitting the PPP-led coalition, Elahi said: "We have not said yes to Mr Mehmood. We will remain with the PPP."
PML-N lawmaker Pervaiz Rashid said his party was ready to hold talks with the PML-Q provided Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain parted ways with the PPP.
"Chaudhry Shujaat made Asif Ali Zardari the President by fielding Mushahid Hussain Syed for the slot and now he is publicly saying that PML-Q will contest the next election along with the PPP," Rashid said.