LAHORE – A Middle Eastern country enjoying strong influence in Pakistani politics is making efforts to unite different Muslim League factions to forge a rightwing alliance to counter the liberal forces in the country.

The Arab state, not being named here out of diplomatic considerations, considers certain parties – including PPP, ANP, MQM as well some nationalist forces of Balochistan and Sindh – as hostile to their regional agenda.

It believes these ‘liberal’ political entities have a soft stance over certain ‘core issues’ of the Muslim World and matters relating to the religion, and hence seeks their ouster from power in the future political set up.

Informed political sources privy to these developments told this correspondent on Thursday that the said country has conveyed to the top leaders of significant Muslim League (ML) factions that they would also put the weight of some religious forces behind them if they agreed to join hands ahead of the next elections.

Quoting the people close to the endeavour, they said that informal contacts were made some time back with the PML-Q and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaderships, besides the leaders of other League factions, to further the plan of unification.

Though majority of senior leaguers agreed to the plan but ‘personal ego’ of some of those at the top was preventing the forward movement, they added.

They said the foreign state offered to arrange a meeting of the ML faction at its soil once they agree to the basic modalities, and also offered to serve as guarantor to the final understanding for unification.

Sources added that the Middle Eastern country, which believes that the Leagues and religious forces were ideologically close to them, was using back-door channels to forge an anti-liberal electoral alliance with a unified Muslim League  at its core.

The people tasked to secure merger of ML factions have recently held some meetings with the high commands of the different Leagues.

When asked about the PTI position in this game plan, they said the policymakers of the said county do not recognise Imran Khan’s party as an avowed right-wing force, however, they believe that some of its leaders share their views on the core issues of the Muslim World. But they do not envisage any important role for the PTI in their scheme, the sources added.

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who is in London for medical check up, is expected to meet PML-Q (Likeminded) President Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim in Dubai on his way back in an effort to cultivate more political contacts in Sindh, where his party lacks a strong foothold.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz sources said that the party leadership was focusing on politically sound individuals, besides courting favour of nationalist forces in that province.

They maintained that the party is already close to finalising matters with Mumtaz Bhutto, and striking a power sharing deal with Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim would give it a boost ahead of its public moot in Sindh.