PML-N leadership ‘not on same page’ over seat adjustments in Punjab

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As political parties go into electioneering mode ahead of upcoming polls slated for February 8, 2024, the leadership of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) does not seem to be on the same page over reported seat adjustments with other parties in Punjab, once considered a stronghold of the Sharifs’ led party.

PML-N’s senior leader Javed Latif Sunday rubbished reports of “any alliances or seat adjustment”, claiming that his party would contest solo in the upcoming general elections in the biggest province of the country.

However, another bigwig of the Nawaz Sharif-led party, Ahsan Iqbal is of the view that their party would enter seat adjustment in Punjab as well as in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan, in order to put the country on the track of development.

According to reports, PML-N did not want to enter seat adjustments with any party but due to insistence from “powerful quarters” it has agreed on it.

It may be noted that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said earlier today that “we know who helps these alliances form. We are saying that Nawaz Sharif is being favoured.”

PPP — which is a former ally of the Nawaz-led party — has been continuously slamming the PML-N for trying to “come to power for a fourth” time.

Earlier this week, reports circulated that PML-N had succeeded in striking a seat adjustment deal with the IPP for the upcoming polls slated to be held on February 8, 2024.

Last week, similar reports emerged after PML-N supremo Nawaz visited the residence of PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain in Lahore after a gap of nearly 15 years, that the two parties have agreed to enter seat adjustment for two National Assembly and three Punjab Assembly constituencies.

However, addressing a press conference today (Sunday) Latif said: “Neither PML-N has entered into an [electoral] alliance nor there will be seat adjustment with any party in Punjab.”

Responding to a question, the PML-N leader said that he did not like to respond to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s recent statements as even his father Asif Ali Zardari denies what the former says.

“If his father does not take Bilawal’s statements seriously then why should we?”

The PML-N leader further said that his party was still following the charter of democracy.

On the other hand, Iqbal said while speaking on Geo News programme, that electoral politics require a party to gain a strong mandate and in order to resolve the current “economic crisis”, it is important to get an effective success.

“Secondly, all those parties consenting to our agenda of progress, we should try to get a large-scale political approval for the agenda, together with them [the parties],” he said.

Iqbal said that the PML-N will try to take as much parties as possible on board in Punjab, like in Balochistan, Sindh and KP, to Pakistan’s economic revival and progress.

Speaking about the possibility of an electoral alliance with PPP, the PML-N leader said that the Bilawal-led party is currently busy in criticism.

Iqbal said that the former PML-N government narrowly escaped from a default situation in the country and if the same approach is not followed, there could be a risk of another such situation.

“To run Pakistan we need peace and stability, which could only be achieved if we establish a broad-based consensus,” he added.

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