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Opposition to field joint candidate for president

26 August, 2018

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MURREE: Opposition parties on Saturday agreed to field a consensus candidate for September 4 presidential election. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had called the multi-party conference

at ex-premier Nawaz Sharif’s Murree residence to hammer out an agreement over a joint candidate for the forthcoming presidential election.

Talking to the media after the meeting, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal confirmed that the forum had decided to field a joint candidate for the office of the president. He said the name of the candidate to be announced today (Sunday), as Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had sought some time to take their leadership into confidence over the discussion.

The PML-N leader said that all opposition parties supported the overseas Pakistanis’ right to voting, however, they objected to the haste being demonstrated in this regard.

Speaking on the occasion, PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said that Aitzaz Ahsan was still his party’s presidential candidate.

Meanwhile, a panel was constituted for presenting three names to opposition parties for candidacy for the office of the president. Led by Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islama-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the body would have one member each from the PML-N and PPP, while one neutral member would also be part of the panel. The panel would shortlist three names by tomorrow (Sunday), after which opposition parties would pick the final name, sources said.

PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif chaired the All Parties Conference (APC) – the alliance of opposition parties, which includes the PPP, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Awami National Party (ANP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), National Party, Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP).

PkMAP leader Mehmood Khan Achakzai did not attend the meeting owing to prior commitments; however, he said he would support the APC’s decisions.

According to sources, the meeting decided that all allied parties would play the role of a strong opposition, agreeing that all opposition parties would partake in “Insaf Do (Serve Justice)” campaign.

The forum, however, delayed the agenda of Senate chairman’s replacement until the next meeting.

Earlier, chinks in opposition ranks laid bare over the nomination of Aitzaz Ahsan for the post of country’s president. The PML-N had stated that Ahsan could not be considered as a joint opposition candidate.

Moreover, PML-N leader Pervaiz Rashid Friday said the party would consider supporting Ahsan for the post of president if he apologizes to incarcerated former premier Nawaz Sharif.

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