LAHORE - Senior PML-N leader and former Chief Minister Sindh Syed Ghous Ali Shah has expressed the optimism that his party will show better results in Sindh in the upcoming general elections. It is not that PML-N will repeat its 1997 performance, it would perform even better in the next elections, he said in an interview with TheNation on Wednesday. While conceding that his party had seen some ups and downs, which, according to him, was something normal with political parties, the veteran politician from Sindh was pregnant with hope that coming days will see rise of the PML-N, especially in the province of Sindh under the dynamic leadership of Mian Nawaz Sharif. When asked what made him so confident about partys expected good performance in the coming polls, he said that relief work done by the PML-N after the recent floods in Sindh, and the subsequent apathy of sitting parliamentarians towards miseries of the affected population had made the party popular among the masses. He said that Mian Nawaz Sharif during his recent whirlwind tour of Sindh undertook visits to 17 districts of the province severely hit by the floods and distributed relief items coming from Punjab. The Assembly members belonging to the ruling parties, on the other hand, did not reach out to them in time of need, he observed, adding this would build a positive image of the PML-N and definitely pay the party back in elections. He said his party was in contact with disgruntled elements within PPP and nationalist parties to enlist their support to strengthen the party. He said many of the misgivings and irritants which had previously stalled the good working relationship with these elements had now been removed as a result of recent meetings with politicians like Abdul Qadir Magsi and Rasool Bakhsh Paleejo. The next stage for real cooperation with nationalists was however yet to come, he added. He said negotiations were also under way with politicians in Sindh who had been contesting elections in the past some times on PPP ticket and at times on PML-N ticket. When asked that his party had taken a principled stance not to accept such people in the party fold, he said: We will have to choose winning candidates from among the 'available stuff. He said this also applied to other provinces. Answering a question, he did not rule out the possibility of an electoral alliance with PML-F, saying he had very cordial relations with Pir of Pagaro who was a staunch supporter of the idea of a united Muslim League. Giving details of a recent meeting with the Pir when the latter was ill, Ghous said that doctors had advised him not to speak with any visitor for more than five minutes, but the spiritual leader was so pleased to see him that he sat with him for over 45 minutes. He called him (Pagaro) a true patriot who had great respect for Nawaz Sharif. When asked who was responsible for the apparent weak party position in Sindh, Ghous Ali attributed it to prolonged absence of partys main leadership from the province and eight-year dictatorial rule of Pervez Musharraf, during which party workers were subjected to oppression. He, however, termed it a transitional phase which would be over soon. Talking about other factors which would contribute in partys 'revival in Sindh, the PML-N leader said that the sympathy vote which the PPP had got after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in 2008 elections, would not be available to it in the upcoming polls for the simple reason that present PPP leadership had disappointed the Sindhis. He was of the firm belief that split in the party and poor performance of the PPP government during the last three -and-a-half years would benefit the PML-N in a big way. He said some 16 PPP MPAs had already announced to side with Zulfiqar Mirza which was indicative of the ongoing infighting in the ruling party. He further said that PML-N will also bank on the anti-PPP and anti-MQM votes in Sindh. Responding to another question about taking the turncoats back into the party fold, he said Nawaz had taken a very firm stance that opportunists had no room in the party. But at the same time, Ghous also said that party leadership had soft corner for those partymen who had to change loyalties under coercion, but otherwise remained committed to the party. He said a decision to accept some of them may be taken on case-to-case basis. When asked if peace could be restored in Karachi in the near future, he said it was possible if Supreme Courts decision was implemented in letter and spirit. He said the things will return to normal if political parties detach themselves from their militant wings. If there is will there is way. About Zulfiqar Mirzas utterances against the MQM and some PPP ministers, he said that as a Muslim one should believe in what he had said with Holy Quran on his head. During the course of interview, Ghous Ali Shah recalled the days when people would raise 'Jiye Bhutto slogan on seeing Mian Nawaz Sharif when he would go from one place to another to galvanise the party in Sindh. This was something disturbing for Nawaz Sharif, but I told him that people were emotional after the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and a time would come when they would raise the slogan, Qadam barhao Nawaz Sharif hum tumharay saath hain, he said, adding that the time he had predicted ultimately came in 1997 when PML-N got two-thirds majority.