ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s loose alliance is already in trouble before even its practical launch.

Until now the two parties have only taken oath together in the National Assembly, where of course other parties joined too. So the real joint efforts are still awaited.

The PPP and the PML-N, who had formed a short-lived coalition government in 2008, are ready to vote for joint candidates in the Speaker and Deputy Speaker’s elections today (August 15).  There seems little problem in the first round but the PPP is not happy over the nomination of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif for the Prime Minister’s slot.

The PPP, sources told The Nation, had already conveyed its reservations to the PML-N on the PM’s nominee and asked them to change the candidate.

A senior PPP leader said most of the party lawmakers were against the candidature of Shehbaz Sharif who used abusive language against Zardari in the past. “We have conveyed out concerns to PML-N. Let’s see how they respond. Voting for Shehbaz Sharif will take a big heart (for the PPP). We don’t know how this new friendship (between the PPP and the PML-N) will go (in the future),” he said.

In the past, Shehbaz Sharif even threatened to drag Zardari to the streets of the country and force him to return the ‘looted’ money. His older brother, Nawaz Sharif has remained more diplomatic. Ultimately, Shehbaz Sharif publically apologized to Zardari but it would still be a tough ask for the PPP to vote him in the PM’s election.

The PML-N has nominated Shehbaz Sharif as its parliamentary leader and candidate for the office of the Prime Minister against Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf’s Imran Khan.

The PPP has chosen Khurshid Shah for the post of National Assembly Speaker. Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s Asad Mehmood has been named as the joint opposition’s candidate for the Deputy Speaker’s slot. Unless, they split, all the opposition parties have agreed to support each other’s candidates to give a tough time to the PTI.

Yesterday, the PTI accused opposition of trying to lure some of its lawmakers by making “lucrative offers” for their votes in the election for the posts of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.

The PTI’s fears are not without reason. Although, the PTI has won the general election it does not enjoy clear majority. There will be secret balloting which is a cause of concern for Imran Khan’s party. PTI’s Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi warned that “it will be unfortunate if the voting pattern witnessed during the Senate election is repeated.”

In the Senate election held in March this year, the joint opposition comprising the PPP, PTI and Senators from Balochistan had deprived the PML-N nominees of the posts of the Senate chairman and Deputy Chairman despite its majority. Qureshi said the opposition parties were free to seek support for their candidates but they should not ‘buy’ votes.

PTI’s spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry said: “PTI knows that some lawmakers have been approached in connection with the election for the posts of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker,” he said. The PTI, Chaudhry said, was in contact with the allies to avert any ‘surprise outcome in the in the Speaker and Deputy Speaker’s election.

PTI and the joint opposition – PPP, PML-N and the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal – now have an almost equal number of votes in the National Assembly as PTI leaders vacated multiple seats they had won in the general election.

Imran Khan’s party will be heavily dependent on its new allies to win the election for the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker in the National Assembly.

The PTI has nominated Qasim Khan Suri, its member from Quetta, for the post of the deputy speaker National Assembly and Mushtaq Ghani and Mehmood Jan for the posts of the speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, respectively.

Another PPP leader said that Zardari may opt to skip the PM’s elections in the National Assembly for the ‘face saving.’ “As we are bound by the understanding reached between the opposition parties to vote for joint candidates, Zardari may stay away for the face saving. He will feel bad to vote for Shehbaz Sharif. Other members may go ahead to support the PML-N nominee,” he maintained.

Meanwhile yesterday, a meeting of PPP Punjab Parliamentary Party was held here, chaired by Asif Ali Zardari. PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also attended the meeting.

Newly elected members Punjab Assembly Hasan Murtaza, Usman mehmood, Mumtaz Chang, Syed Ali Haider Gilani, Raees Nabeel Ahmed and Ghazanfar Ali were present in the meeting.

Hasan Murtaza was appointed parliamentary leader of PPP parliamentary party in Punjab Assembly.