Following Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Hyderabad on Monday, both Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party have become active in trying to lure leaders away from each other and into their fold.
According to informed sources, the PPP is poised to snatch a ‘big wicket’ from PML-N in the next few days, a move they said is aimed at sending a cautionary message to the latter party over the inroads it has been making in Sindh.
“No one else but PML N’s Sindh President Ismail Rahu may join PPP along with his supporters,” an insider said. Sources said PPP and Ismail have been holding backdoor contacts for the past several days and have in principle agreed to shun their differences.
“Ismail could join PPP on the upcoming death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on April 4,” a PPP leader said on condition of anonymity, adding that more PML-N figures are likely to follow suit.
Ismail, an influential personality from Badin district, is the son of peasant leader Fazil Rahu, who was assassinated in 1987. He won the PS-59 Badin-Tando Mohammad Khan seat from a PPP candidate in the previous elections by and large because of his own influence in the constituency.
“PPP is planning to induct Ismail against Zulfiqar Mirza and his wife MNA Fahmida Mirza,” an insider said, adding that the PML-N Sindh leader had developed differences with the prime minister and other party figures over their tendency to overlook him and Sindh.
“During his Thatta visit on March 9, the prime minister held a detailed meeting with Ismail. It was a one-on-one meeting which continued for an hour. We don’t know about it,” a PML N leader said, adding that Ismail had assured he would attend prime minister’s last programme in Hyderabad but did not make it.
“He excused himself saying there was a family emergency,” an insider said, adding that Ismail had expressed grievances with other party leaders against the PML- N leadership on various occasions.
Senior PML N leader Shah Mehmood Shah did not further comment on it but said, “We cannot force anyone into not leaving. I have no idea, he has not discussed it with me, but it is Ismail’s personal decision to remain with us or leave.”
When asked about PML-N Sindh leaders leaving the party, he said, “Many will join us too in future.”
Meanwhile, the PML-N Sindh chapter has finalised another event for the prime minister in Jacobabad on April 14. “The premier will be coming to the city on the invitation of PML-N Information Secretary Aslam Abro,” said PML-N Minority Wing leader Khehal Das Kohistani. He said many disgruntled PPP leaders have also approached to join PML N because of party’s soaring popularity.
“After Jacobabad, PM Nawaz will plan to visit Naushero Feroz, Hala, Matiari, Badin and Thar,” Kohistani added.
Many PML-N Sindh leaders have either left the party or are angry at the central leadership’s tendency to ignore them. Former chief ministers Sardar Mumtaz Bhutto – who had merged his Sindh National Front into PML N – and Ghous Ali Shah have already left the party. Meanwhile, Liaquat Jatoi and Arbab Ghulam Rahim [both former chief ministers] have distanced themselves from the party. PML N MNA Hakeem Baloch has already jumped in PPP’s ship. Similarly, the Jamot family of Ibrahim Hyderi has almost joined PPP. “Another PML N MPA from the Keamari area of Karachi is also in contact with PPP and could join the party when the tenure of incumbent assembly comes to an end,” a PPP leader said.
Courtesy: Express Tribune