LAHORE  -   There is little likelihood of the opposition parties fielding a consensus candidate as the PPP on Sunday declared to quit the opposition’s ‘alliance’ ahead of the presidential polls to be held tomorrow (Tuesday).

“There was never any alliance with the PML-N or any other party, nor does it exist at the moment. We had only got united on the issue of rigging,” a categorical statement came from senior PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira who held a news conference here on Sunday along with Syed Khurshid Shah and Ch Aitzaz Ahsan.

He went on to say that it was never an alliance like the ARD. “We did not contest 2018 elections in alliance with any of the opposition parties,” Kaira said, adding that PPP would not withdraw its candidate in any case.

But strangely enough, the PPP still expects rest of the opposition parties to withdraw their joint candidate, Maulana Fazlur Rehman in favour of its presidential candidate, Ch Aitzaz Ahsan.

PPP believes its candidate can win the presidential election if Maulana withdraws his candidature. Kaira yesterday also insisted that there were bright chances of Aitzaz’s victory in the presidential election if it is made a one-on-one contest. He also said that PPP was ready to meet Mian Nawaz Sharif in jail to seek his party’s support for its candidate.

In a TV interview the other day, Aitzaz Ahsan also claimed that a group of PTI lawmakers was ready to vote for him since they considered him a better candidate. He also said that defection clause would not apply on PTI legislators since it did not apply on the presidential election which is held through secret ballot.

On the PML-N’s demand that Aitzaz Ahsan should seek apology from Mian Nawaz Sharif for his harsh criticism of Sharif family, Kaira said: “There are no apologies in a political journey. If such a precedent is set then PPP has many justifications to ask all other parties to apologise.”

On the other hand, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday accused the PPP of facilitating the PTI in the presidential election.

“The PPP had done the same at the time of election to the offices of the prime minister and the chief minister Punjab,” he said, adding that he was a joint candidate of all the opposition parties and the PPP should accept his candidature.

“If we are acceptable to the PPP for alliances like the MRD and ARD, then what stops the PPP from accepting us for the presidential election,” Maulana complained while also claiming having good personal terms with the PPP supremo Asif Ali Zardari and Aitzaz Ahsan.

Talking to reporters after meeting the top PML-N leadership here, Fazl stressed the need for a mutually agreed candidate to take on the PTI candidate. He was flanked by Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz, Khawaja Saad Rafique and other PML-N leaders.

Fazl said that PPP should have agreed on joint opposition’s candidate today as it was quite easy for it to withdraw their candidate unlike him who was nominated by a number of opposition parties.

He said he would continue efforts to convince the PPP in this regard till the last time.

Earlier in the day, senior PPP leader Syed Khurshid Shah said that entire PPP leadership including Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari were supporting Chaudhry Aitzaz’s candidature as presidential candidate. This statement comes after Maulana Fazlur Rehman said other day that even the PPP leadership was not standing with Aitzaz on his nomination as the presidential candidate.

Shah expressed his optimism that Maulana Fazlur Rehman would accept PPP’s request to withdraw his candidature.

 

 

PPP quits opposition’s ‘alliance’