PML-N teaming up with Sipah-e-Sahaba for Local Government polls in Punjab

‘PML-N teaming up with banned outfit for LG polls’

* Deputy Opp leader describes PML-N’s links with Sipah-e-Sahaba as ‘shocking’
* Ex-Rahimyar Khan nazim alleges govt will only conduct LG elections when assemblies’ tenure ends
* Pervaiz Rasheed says ‘no harm’ in Sipah-e-Sahaba supporting PML-N

By Rana Kashif

LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is expected to form an alliance with a banned religious outfit and the PML-Zia (PML-Z) for the upcoming local government (LG) elections, Daily Times learnt on Thursday.

In the recent by-elections, the PML-N won in the PP-82 (Jhang) constituency with the support of a banned religious outfit, whereas it supported the PML-Z candidate in Bahawalnagar (PP-284), who also turned out to be the winning candidate.

Sources within the PML-N told Daily Times that the party would ‘most likely’ form an alliance with the Sipah-e-Sahaba and the PML-Z in the upcoming local bodies elections. They said the party believed in gaining all possible support going into the local bodies elections, and the PML-N did not “see any harm” in forming an alliance with the Sipah-e-Sahaba or the PML-Z, as members of both parties are Pakistani citizens who had a “right to vote”. The sources said that forming such alliances was a part of politics and there is nothing “wrong” about it.

Shocking: Separately, the opposition bench in the Punjab Assembly expressed its concerns over the Sipha-e-Sahaba’s support for the PML-N in the Jhang by-polls. Deputy Opposition Leader Muhammad Yar Hiraj said it was “shocking” that the PML-N had connections with a banned religious outfit. He alleged that the PML-N was an ‘opportunistic’ party and would form an alliance with any party at the need of the hour regardless of the other party’s philosophy and beliefs, a fact obvious by its affiliation with the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).

He also said the main reason behind the delay in conducting the LG elections in Punjab was to allow the PML-N time to form an alliance and gain enough support before the polls.

Political gains: Similarly, former Rahimyar Khan district nazim Mir Rafiq Hayder Leghari said the PML-N was not ready to hold local bodies elections, and in case the elections are held, they would be scheduled at the time when the current assemblies’ tenure would be about to end. All this would be done to gain ‘political benefit’, he added.

Upon being contacted by Daily Times, PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rasheed said the party’s philosophy was against the formation of an alliance with a banned organisation.

However, contradicting his earlier statement, he said that all election candidates had the right to contact any political organisation to gain support, adding that there “is no harm” in the banned religious outfit supporting the PML-N in the upcoming local bodies elections.

Justifying his party’s stance, Rasheed said that when “prisoners could be given the right to vote, there was nothing wrong with the PML-N gathering the support of Sipah-e-Sahaba members, who had a right to vote being citizens of Pakistan”.

One-way support: He said that while the PML-N did not reject the banned outfit’s support, the party “did not accept or support the philosophy of any banned organisation or person”. The Sipha-e-Sahaba has strong links in various pockets of the province including Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Faisalabad, Lahore, Sheikhupura and the Melsi areas.

Source: Daily Times



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