KARACHI - Fresh efforts to merge the PML-N and PML-F, two leading factions of the Pakistan Muslim League, into a single entity are less likely to bear fruit as provincial cadres of both groups are resisting any move that can lead to the loss of their independent status.
Chief of the Pakistan Muslim League Functional Pir Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi (Pir Pagara) in his recent Lahore meeting with Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, who is president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, had floated the merger idea. Prominent Sindh chapter leaders of both the parties in their informal chat with The Nation said that there was little possibility of the two sides agreeing to what their heads had discussed.
They opined that proposed merger was just like the one repeatedly floated by the late Pir Pagara during the Musharraf regime.
The leaders as well as workers of the two parties are not happy with the amalgamation idea.
A provincial leader of the PML-F on condition of anonymity told The Nation that majority of the party cadre belongs to the Hur community, who may not feel comfortable with the new party, which will certainly be led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
He recalled the experience of the merger of the National People’s Party (NPP) of late Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and nationalist group Sindh Nationalist Front (SNF) of Mumtaz Ali Bhutto with the PML-N. Both the smaller parties are dissatisfied since then, he said.
“The leaders should learn from the experience of other parties, who merged their groups in the PML-N, but are not happy with the treatment they are receiving in the government as well as in the party setup,” the PML-F leader remarked.
When contacted, PML-F’s parliamentary leader in Sindh Assembly and former general secretary of party’s Sindh chapter Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh told The Nation that party chief Pir Sibghatullah Rashdi (Pir Pagara) in his separate meetings with the PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had also proposed the merger of all factions into one entity.
But, he pointed out, there was no headway so far.
PML-F MPA in Sindh Assembly Mrs Mahtab Akbar Rashdi, however, opined that no consultation so far was made by the leadership with the MPAs and officebearers of the party on the merger plan.
Stressing that the proposal was only in the air, PML-N Sindh leader Saleem Zia also said that the talks of merger of PML-N and PML-F were at an initial stage and no firm decision has been taken yet. He further said that if any development takes place, the party leadership and central working party will jointly consider it with all pros and cons.