ISLAMABAD - Just two days before the presidential election, the opposition parties were making ‘futile’ efforts to bridge the widening chasm between Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz as both parties seemed not prepared to agree on a joint candidate to give at least tough contest to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf even if they would not win the race to presidency.
Most of the opposition parties right now standing behind MMA Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the presidential race, blamed Pakistan People’s Party for this divide in the opposition parties’ ranks and some of them even believed that all this was being done under a well worked out plan to facilitate Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf government which is standing on a very thin majority.
The leaders of nationalist parties from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan were also critical on the role of PPP and said that they were standing behind MMA Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman only because they considered PPP on fault in this episode.
Pakistan People’s Party leaders with their acts during the whole exercise of bringing opposition parties on one platform and to give tough time to ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and its allies, mainly on the issue of massively rigged July 25 elections, created rift instead of unifying the opposition parties.
Soon after the elections when Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal made the opposition parties sans Pakistan People’s Party that their elected parliamentarians would not take oath of their offices both in centre and provinces to pressurise PTI on the rigging issue, but PPP leadership stepped in with the proposal that instead of staying out of the parliament they should join parliament and would give a tough time to government both inside and outside the parliament.
Later at the time of elections of Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Prime Minister once again PPP ditched the rest of the opposition parties by withdrawing their support to Shehbaz Sharif in the elections of Prime Minister.
Almost all those who had been part of the deliberations between the opposition parties were unanimous in their views that the withdrawal of support to Shehbaz Sharif by PPP was its fault because it was agreed between the opposition parties that the candidate of Deputy Speaker would be from MMA, Speaker from PPP and Prime Minister from PML-N with no pre-condition on the candidates to be announced by these parties.
So the withdrawal of support to Shehbaz Sharif once his name was announced by the party was unfair whereas PML-N stood by its commitment and voted Syed Khursheed Shah for the elections of Speaker National Assembly.
In reaction to their ditching by PPP in the race for the Prime Minister, the PML-N had immediately moved an application to de-seat Sherry Rehman as Leader of Opposition in Senate further deepening the rift between the two major opposition parties.
But side by side the smaller parties in opposition continued fire-fighting and easing down tension between PPP and PML-N but once again PPP without consulting rest of the opposition parties announced Ch.Aitzaz Ahsan as their candidate for the presidential elections, the move PML-N had rejected outright and demanded his replacement with someone noncontroversial person and also gave the names of Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Mian Raza Rabbani.
After a few rounds of talks, the opposition parties failed to land at same page and sans PPP the opposition parties came up with MMA Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman as their candidate and till now both sides were pushing each other to withdraw their candidate and make it one on one contest between the government and joint opposition.
Parliamentary sources said that now as both PPP and rest of opposition parties had reached the point of no return and the chances of some settlement between the two seemed impossible, which would also diminish their chances to stand united on other issues as well.