PML-N, JUI to join hands for Pakistan polls

PML-N and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam on Monday said they would join hands and cooperate in the polls to "face all challenges".

Lahore: Ahead of the General Election, Pakistan`s two leading opposition parties, PML-N and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, on Monday said they would join hands and cooperate in the polls to "face all challenges".

"There has been an agreement between us that both parties will cooperate in the polls. We will constitute committees to work out issues in this regard," PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif said after a meeting with JUI leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman at his residence at Raiwind here.

There has never been a political alliance, seat adjustment or any cooperation between the PML-N, which rules Punjab, and the JUI in the past.

The PML-N has even criticised Rehman for his "double standard" in politics.

The JUI, which has a sizeable following in the country`s northwest, was earlier a member of the Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition at the Centre.

Asked how the two parties would cooperate when the JUI had never been close to the PML-N in the past, Sharif said: "We are constituting committees for this. Let the committees give their recommendations first".

He said the PML-N will consult the JUI about the caretaker set-up that will be installed after the federal government completes its five-year term on March 16.

Sharif also accepted Rehman`s invitation to attend a conference of political parties being organised by the JUI in Islamabad on February 28 to discuss ways to restore peace in the northwest and the tribal areas.

He said: "We need to unite for the sake of the country and face all challenges".

Rehman said political parties should take up the Pakistani Taliban`s offer of peace talks seriously.

Both leaders agreed that any single political party could not steer the country out of the crises it is facing.

The Taliban recently offered peace talks to the PPP-led government but said that Sharif, Rehman and Jamaat-e-Islami chief Munawar Hasan should act as guarantors for the dialogue.

Sharif has already asked the government to accept the Taliban`s offer.