ISLAMABAD - The opposition parties are unlikely to field a joint candidate for the presidential election scheduled next month, as even the main political players – the PPPP and PTI – have so far failed to reach a consensus on the issue. PPPP senior leader and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah had contacted the PTI lawmakers for fielding a joint candidate but he did not receive a satisfactory response, Pakistan Peoples Party sources told The Nation.

The PPPP had named Mian Raza Rabbani, the party’s parliamentary leader in the Senate, as its nominee for the presidential election while PTI has come up with its own candidate, Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed. Sources said that the ruling PML-N had also contacted the PTI to gain support for their presidential candidate but they too were refused.

Khursheed Shah, in his contact with Shah Mehmood Qureshi, however said that candidate for presidential post should not have links with any political party and he/she must be a person of national standing. But PTI’s leader made it clear that they have decided to field Justice (r) Wajihuddin. PPP sources said that some senior voices within the party were suggesting to payback the PML-N, which had supported President Asif Zardari in year 2008.

MQM, which is currently in crisis, has also not given its nod to its past ally – PPPP. “We have still not decided about it. In two or three days, we will share our stance,” MQM’s Wasay Jalil told The Nation. The situation of minor opposition parties including JI, ANP and AML have also yet to made up their mind on the issue as they also have certain reservations on different matters.

When contacted, Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid said he was not contacted either by opposition or the treasury benches. “I have still not decided about it,” he said. Sources said that Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) is in favour of a joint opposition candidate and it had tried to broker an agreement between PPP and PTI but could not get through. Unlike the opposition, the treasury benches in National Assembly, Punjab assembly, Balochistan Assembly and Senate enjoy unity in their ranks on the issue. Political pundits say that even if the opposition parties join hands, the numerical strength of the PML-N and its allies would make it almost impossible for the opposition to win.