Four PML factions choose Pagara to head new alliance
By Fasahat Mohiuddin
KARACHI: The Muttahida Muslim League, an alliance of four League factions, has been formed under the chairmanship of Pir Pagara. The parties that formed the alliance were PML (F), PML (like-minded), PML(Z) and PML(Awami).
PML (F) chief Pir Sahib Pagara announced the formation of the alliance at a large gathering of Muslim League leaders and PML(F) workers here at the Kingri House on Friday. He said the parties in this alliance had their own separate identity but in the alliance they were all united and one. He said that the four factions would continue to work independently till the legal requirements for the formation of a unified party were completed.
Pir Pagara formed a nine-member steering committee comprising former prime minister Mir Zafrullah Khan Jamali (convener), Hamid Nasir Chattha, Salim Saifullah, Pir Sadrudidin Shah Rashidi, Ijazul Haq, Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood, Sheikh Rasheed, Humayun Akhtar and Jehangir Tareen. Imtiaz Sheikh will be the coordinator of the alliance.
Pir Pagara said the committee would propose/plan the structure, organisation, policies and programmes of the Muttahida Muslim League. Replying to a question, Pir Pagara said he had made no contact with PML(N) President Mian Nawaz Sahrif nor was he anxious for anyone to join him. At the same time, he urged all parties to join the alliance. He said Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain called on him before he left for China and said there was some compulsion and that he would come later.
To a question whether the MQM would be invited to join the alliance, Pir Pagara said all parties should come forward to pull the country out of the present crisis. Pir Pagara claimed that the Muslim League would form the government at the Centre and in the provinces.
When asked if the alliance would participate in the next elections as one party, he said all parties should make efforts to bring the country out of the present crisis. When asked repeatedly whether Nawaz Sahrif had been invited to join the alliance, he reiterated that he was not anxious if any one joined the alliance or not. It depends on his (Nawaz’s) desire and will.
Former prime minister Mir Zafrullah Khan Jamali stressed that all Muslim Leaguers should shun their differences and repose complete confidence in the leadership of Pir Pagara. Hamid Nasir Chathah, on the occasion, said that all Mulim League factions should join this alliance and come under one platform.
Agencies add: Political analysts are not attaching much significance to the event as the two major factions, the PML-N and PML-Q, whose combined strength in the National Assembly is 143, refused to join the new party.
The PML-F is the only group amongst the four factions which has some roots in Sindh, while the remaining three are known as single-seat groups.
To a question about the absence of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussein, who just a month ago announced merger of his party into the All Pakistan Muslim League, along with the PML-F, Pagara said he had spoken to Chaudhry Shujaat on telephone. But it seemed as if his “younger Chaudhry” (Chaudhry Pervaiz Ellahi) had some “memory problem”. But still the Chaudhrys would come back soon, he predicted.
He said he had not contacted Nawaz Sharif so far. Similarly, he said, he had not contacted former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. “First, he (Musharraf) should become a Muslim Leaguer and then the council (steering committee) may decide about his induction into the combined Muslim League,” Pagara said in his trademark lighter mood.
In reply to another question, Pagara said that his party would remain a coalition partner in Sindh and at the Centre despite the formation of a combined PML. “We have nothing to do with the game of numbers. Our mission is to unite all Muslim League factions, and we would go ahead with that. If anyone wants to join us, he is welcome, and if not, we have nothing to do with him,” he maintained. To a question, Pir Pagara said that President Asif Zardari would remain in office as long as Allah is merciful on him.
Source: The News