PML-Q ready to work with opposition, says Elahi

February 15th, 2008 - 5:48 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Muhammad Najeeb
Lahore, Feb 15 (IANS) As various opinion polls in Pakistan suggest a drubbing for the PML-Q that ruled the country for five years alongside President Pervez Musharraf, party chief and prime minister hopeful Pervez Elahi says he is ready to work with the opposition. Hinting at working with assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Elahi said: “In the country’s interest we can work with any party, though during their tenures in government they performed badly and betrayed the people.”

The Musharraf loyalist heads the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, a breakaway faction of Sharif’s party that sided with the military when the Nawaz Sharif government was overthrown in a bloodless military coup in 1999.

“He (Sharif) betrayed the people of country by leaving the country whereas Musharraf is Pakistan’s savoir,” Elahi told IANS, referring to Sharif’s seven years in exile. Sharif returned to the country in November last year to lead his party in the polls but was barred from contesting the elections.

“We will win the required majority in the parliament but will have no objection in forming the coalition government,” Elahi said, just before addressing a major rally in Phoolnagar, some 60 km south of Lahore.

A simple majority is required to form the government in a National Assembly, or lower house, of 342 members. Direct elections are held on 272 seats while the 60 reserved seats for women and the 10 for non-Muslims are divided among the winning parties on a proportional representation basis.

Polls predict the pro-Musharraf PML-Q also known Q-League will come in third place behind the PPP and PML-N.

Both opposition parties complain that the government is trying to rig the poll in favour of the PML-Q. A report by PILDAT, a local organisation monitoring polls, said Friday that sitting Nazims and members of the caretaker government were openly campaigning for the Q League candidates.

Caretaker Prime Minister Muhammadmian Soomro and several ministers in the federal and provincial cabinets are members of the Q League. At least seven of them, including Soomro, are presently members of the Senate or upper house of parliament.

“Yes I am member of the Senate and I was elected on a PML-Q ticket but now I am neutral and we (caretakers) are not siding with any party,” Minister For Information Nisar Memon said, reacting to media reports.

While Elahi holds out the option of an alliance in the future, Sharif has been openly saying that he will go with neither Musharraf nor the PML-Q if returned to power.

“There is no question of working with people who have ruined the country,” Sharif said in a television interview.

However, Asiz Ali Zardari, husband of the late Benazir Bhutto who is handling the reins of the PPP for his son Bilawal, hinted that he is ready to work with any party including the Q League if his party wins the polls.

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