ISLAMABAD - The consultation, started by Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan with other opposition parties to find a consensus candidate for the office of the caretaker prime minister, has provided the PML-N with an opportunity to explore the possibility of making an election alliance with the like-minded parties.

Background interviews and discussions suggest that these interactions have turned into a blessing in disguise for the main opposition party to get closer to the parties which it has been keeping at a distance in the past. Nisar has so far consulted six parties both in and outside the Parliament, seeking their nominations for the caretaker prime minister.

Unfortunately, all efforts to cultivate the PTI of Imran Khan for a grand election alliance of the opposition parties against PPP-led ruling coalition have failed to bear fruit. “It has become crystal clear that both the parties would be facing each other in elections and both they are going to lead separate alliances,” sources said. They believed that eventually, the PTI and Jamaat-i-Islami would join hands to contest the next general elections together.

Efforts are also being made to take the JUI (F) along, although there are serious doubts that Maulana Fazlur Rehman will like to join hands with them.

The JUI-F is seeking revival of the defunct Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), which was a conglomerate of six parties representing various religious schools of thought. Maulana Fazl has repeatedly alleged that the Jamaat is the major obstacle to the initiative. The ruling PPP is largely depending on its sitting coalition partners - PML-Q, ANP and MQM - to contest general elections either as a formal alliance or through making seats adjustments.

As for the PML-N’s efforts, a source said: “You will soon see an united front headed by the PML-N and regional parties emerging in Karachi, Sindh and Balochistan to challenge the PPP and its coalition partners on one hand and PTI and Jamaat-e-Islami on other.”

He was of the view that the PML-N had already completed its homework and was now busy working out the modalities for election alliances at the regional level.

The PML-N is asking all the political parties registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to contest the general elections.

“You would see major political developments in November and December,” a source said, hoping the PML-N would be ready for general elections by then.