The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Sunday said that it was ready to bridge the gap and remove differences between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) over the election of Karachi mayor.
The fresh development came during a meeting between the city leaders of the ruling party at the Centre and the JI leadership a day after the former had agreed to lend its support to the PPP in the mayoral election.
A JI delegation, led by its Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, visited the residence of the PML-N’s Sindh chapter president Shah Muhammad Shah and held a discussion in the wake of the local government elections.
The meeting continued for some time and later both sides talked to the media.
“We would play our role to establish a consensus between the two leading parties,” said Mr Shah of the PML-N. “It’s our desire that the two parties should join hands for the development and betterment of Karachi and for that we would play every political role we can.”
Hafiz Naeem-led delegation meets provincial president of ruling party at Centre
Asked about the prospects of his efforts, Mr Shah said he had “personal relations” with the top leadership of the Sindh’s ruling party. “[Asif] Zardari Sahib is a good friend of mine. I hope he won’t disappoint,” he replied.
He said that both parties had agreed to cooperate in the larger interest of Karachi despite political and ideological differences, and it would be a “win-win situation” for every stakeholder to bring a consensus mayor.
The fresh development emerged after the JI geared up its campaign for the top slot of the city municipal body following its initial talks with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, which remained inconclusive.
The Karachi JI chief reiterated his demand for fair results and at the same time a consensus on the upcoming election of mayor.
“We believe that this city cannot afford any further divide,” said Hafiz Naeem. “The Jamaat is the party which has emerged with the highest number of votes in the Jan 15 polls. We believe that our mayor would be the true representative of the people of Karachi.”
He, however, appreciated the gesture of Mr Shah and said he would look forward to his efforts to bring consensus among the parties.
He said that so far his party had not yet discussed the mayor election with the PPP as the JI asked the former that there must be an initiative from its side to address its grievances over fair results of LG elections.
“We also demanded a halt to the recounting process in different union committees under the district returning officers and asked the Election Commission of Pakistan to carry out the exercise under its own supervision,” he added.
Only on Saturday, a PPP delegation called on the PML-N leader Shah and sought his support. The PML-N, which had won seven union committees, agreed to lend its support to the PPP candidate in the mayoral election.
The two sides agreed that much like the Centre, the two parties would work together as allied parties in Sindh and cooperate with each other not just for the mayoral election, but also for all the upcoming by-elections and the next general polls in the province.