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Nawaz, Fazl join hands for polls

26 February, 2013

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LAHORE: PML-N Preisdent Nawaz Sharif and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman have declared an alliance for the upcoming general elections and have constituted two joint committees for sorting out issues related to seat adjustments between the two parties.

On Monday, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who has good religious and political influence in the country's western border areas, especially tribal areas, held an exclusive meeting with Nawaz Sharif at his residence at Raiwind Farms and later held a joint press conference in which the two leaders announced the alliance. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, along with other party leaders, including opposition leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Iqbal Zafar Jhagra from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was also present in the meeting.

Fazlur Rehman was accompanied by his party leaders Maulana Amjad Khan and Riaz Durrani. Addressing the press conference, both the mainstream leaders (Nawaz and Fazl) showed positive gestures regarding their parties' mutual understanding on collaboration in the upcoming general elections that are expected to be held in May, according to the schedule mentioned in the constitution.

Talking to media, Nawaz Sharif said that his party had agreed to collaborate in the upcoming elections with the Fazlur Rehman's party, JUI-F, and both the parties had also agreed to constitute two committees to decide on ways to cooperate in the polls. Nawaz also said that the PML-N had also accepted an invitation to him by Maulana Fazlur Rehman to participate in the all-parties conference (APC) that is to be held in Islamabad on February 28 to discuss ways for restoring peace in FATA.

Former prime minister Nawaz said that he appreciates Maulana's APC and termed it a good effort to bring peace and stability in the country. He said the caretaker setups should be installed not only in Centre and Punjab but in other provinces too. Commenting on other issues discussed during his meeting with Fazlur Rehman, the PML-N chief told the journalists that leaderships of both the parties had also discussed the interim government setup as well as the issue of the caretaker prime minister. He also stressed that all parties would be consulted on the issue of caretaker government setup, including the nomination of the caretaker prime minister.

While talking to media on the occasion, Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that both PML-N and JUI-F had agreed on an electoral alliance and to constitute two committees for mutual understanding and cooperation and to find out more ways of collaboration between them in next general elections. Terming free, fair and transparent elections as the need of the hour, Fazl further stated that this was also necessary for security and safety of the country.

The maulana said that crises facing Pakistan could not be averted by the efforts of just one single party, and all parties should unite to tackle these challenges.

On the Nawaz-Fazl meeting, the JUI-F sources told our sources that both the parties' leadership had also discussed holding a grand jirga of tribes in Dera Ismail Khan. They stated that there was hope that the PML-N would also participate in the jirga. About the issue of security in the area for high-profile political figures, especially in the context of Imran Khan already being stopped from going there by the law enforcement agencies on the pretext of security, the sources just said, "It is not a problem for them as locals."


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