PML-Q accepts defeat, leaves door open for negotiation

February 19th, 2008 - 5:07 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, Feb 19 (IANS) The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), backed by President Pervez Musharraf, Tuesday accepted defeat but left room for negotiating a role for itself in the next government saying that “nothing can be ruled out in politics”. Party leader and a prime minister hopeful not too long ago, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi said despite the defeat in the Monday elections, his party had been able to secure a “decent” position to play a key role in the future government.

“The media is portraying that we have been wiped out from politics. No, we are very much in and we are in to play a crucial role,” Elahi told IANS.

Asked if they would make an attempt to form the government, the former Punjab chief minister said: “We are open to discussion… nothing can be ruled out in politics.”

His brother-in-law and former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain added that the party would be holding a meeting Wednesday to discuss future strategy. He did not rule out an alliance with other parties for forming the government.

“We accept our defeat, we are ready to sit in opposition but we want that those who were saying we should restore judges and give complete independence to media should fulfil their promises,” Hussain said, referring to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his campaign promise.

Hussain was one of several PML-Q bigwigs to have lost the elections. These include six-time winner and former minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, who got a drubbing in Rawalpindi, where he has ruled for over two decades, former National Assembly speaker Chaudhary Amir Hussain, former defence minister Rao Sikandar Iqbal and PML-Q stalwart Hamid Nasir Chatta.

The opposition gained as the ruling PML-Q trailed an embarrassing third. The PML-Q could secure only 35 seats in the 272-member National Assembly. The late Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) remained on top with 85 seats followed by Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that secured 67 seats.

The result of 28 seats is yet to be announced.

According to Hussain, the international community and political parties in Pakistan should appreciate Musharraf for holding free and fair elections.

“There should be no doubt that any rigging was done in the elections… those who threw allegations of rigging should be ashamed of their statements,” Hussain said.

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