LAHORE - The JUI-F and Jamaat-i-Islami are considering joining hands and support PML-N backed candidates for chairman and deputy chairman seats in the Senate election, it is learnt reliably.

To discuss the election relevant matters, Jamiat Ulema Islam-F head Fazlur Rehman Friday met with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

A source said Nawaz tasked Fazl to persuade Jamat Islami (JI) leadership to vote for PML-N led group. He said the JUI-F chief suggested Nawaz to consider nominating some independent candidate from Balochistan for senate chairmanship.

As JUI-F has four senators and JI two, their united support could change the position on the chessboard in favour of either PPP-led opposition or ruling party side.

Leaders of both smaller parties, one of whom [JUI-F] is a coalition partner in PML-N federal government and the other a partner in PTI’s government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, believe that their united position in senate contest will brighten the future for the Muthida Majlise Amal (MMA).

MMA is a recently revived alliance of five religio-political parties — JUI-F, JI, Professor Sajid Mir led Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Allama Sajid Naqvi led Islami Tehreek and Anas Noorani’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan.

Sources said the senior leaders of the two were in contact and it was most likely that they would jointly support PML-N candidates from the MMA platform.

“It [joint voting] is almost agreed and Maulana Sahib discussed it with Nawaz Sharif during Friday’s meeting between them,” said a source.

The meeting of the leaders of the MMA is going to be held in Islamabad on March 12 and it is likely the announcement of joint support to either of the two camps would be announced there.

“Yes! We are in contact and option is under discussion to announce joint support to any one candidate on chairman seat, instead of dividing our votes,” said JI spokesperson Amirul Azeem when contacted.

He however added that they had yet to decide to which side they would lend their joint support. It was likely the parties would announce their decision on March 12, he said.

Earlier, Nawaz had said they would support PPP if it fielded Raza Rabbani for his re-election as senate chairman – a proposal conveyed by Fazl to Asif Zardari, who rejected it.

Reportedly, JI chief Senator Sirajul Haq has also recommended Rabbani’s name in his Friday’s call to Zardari.

“The re-election of Raza Rabbani as Chairman Senate would bring to an end the present political crisis and state of uncertainty. His style of working in the past impressed everybody and he set an example by serving the country and the nation remaining over and above corruption,” Sirajul Haq told the media.

Since the heads of both parties have made it clear that they don’t want anyone other than Rabbani from the PPP, so they are unlikely to vote for opposition camp if Zardari fielded some other candidate – as the PPP co-chairman has resolved.