LAHORE - The PML-N has expressed reservations over the PPP candidate Aitzaz Ahsan for the presidential election, alleging it of taking the decision without taking other opposition parties into confidence.

Parliamentarians and senior leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz met here with the Party President Shehbaz Sharif in the chair.

Sources said PML-N rejected Pakistan Peoples Party Aitzaz’s candidature, terming him the candidate of his party alone instead of the whole Pakistan Alliance for Free and Fair Election – which is a combine of seven opposition parties.

The meeting also mulled over the names from the party for the presidential election, they said. At the alliance meeting on August 24 in Islamabad or Murree, the PML-N will seek a consensus name for their presidential candidate, they add.

The meeting also considered the situation after the names of Party Quaid Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law, Capt (r) Safdar have been placed on the Exit Control List by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government. The meeting took the matter into account from legal and political angles.

Talking to media later, PML-N leaders Rana Sanaullah, Malik Ahmad Khan and Waris Shah Kallu said the subject of presidential election dominated the meeting and it was decided that a consensus candidate of all opposition parties will be brought forth.

Rana said the opposition candidate had bright chances of winning if all the alliance parties strike a consensus on the candidate. He recalled that PPP did not vote for Shehbaz in the prime minister election despite his being a consensus candidate of the opposition parties.

He said the alliance will meet in Murree or Islamabad after Eid to discuss names for the presidential election. He said in case a candidate for the presidential race is brought with force, it would be like bringing Imran Khan as Prime Minister of a weak government.

To a question he warned PPP Asif Ali Zardari against taking solo flight on presidential election or the PML-N will defeat him.

To another question he said, the party had decided that Hamza Shehbaz will lead the opposition in the Punjab Assembly.

He warned of breaking down functioning of the government if any attempt at the national or the Punjab level was made to create a forward bloc out of PML-N.

The former Punjab law minister also criticised the result of the general elections and said PTI has reached to the power through ‘bogus mandate’. He said as many as 80 members in the National Assembly were elected with the help of ‘aliens’.

Rana Sana said Iman Khan is a ‘vote-stealer’ prime minister who has yet not come down from the container since he was pursuing the same rigid and vindictive politics. He said in the very first meeting of his cabinet, the new PM went to put the name of national leader Nawaz Sharif on the ECL.

He claimed that not a single charge of corruption could be proved against Nawaz Sharif by the trial court but a haste was shown to convict him and an equal sloth is being shown in providing relief to him through his appeal.

Hitting below the belt, Rana Sanaullah also pointed to Imran’s staggering in the oath over the Arabic words for the finality of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and said such mistake cannot be expected from a Muslim.

Addressing Imran Khan, he said, during his whole life he relied on others. “We will accept your worth when you will lay hand on the business of Jahangir Tarin, Aleem Khan and Zulfi,” he added.

He said PM adviser Babar Awan was accused of Rs27 billion misappropriation but he been made part of the government. He also questioned the competence of Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar.

PPP, PML-N meeting

Top leaders of the PPP –former leader for the Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah and former Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani – called on PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif here yesterday.

Senior leaders of PML-N Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Tanvir and others joined Shehbaz in the meeting with the PPP team.

The PPP sought PML-N support for its candidate for presidential slot however the PML-N asked for time to ponder over the issue and the two sides decided to meet again after Eidul Adha.

PML-N sources say both the sides had consensus on going jointly on the election for the president and believed that with little bit of more effort, they can win this office which is of high stakes for them given the predicament facing leadership on both sides.

Sources say that the PML-N and the PPP are also in touch with each other on the top changes in the Senate after the latter had offered unconditional support to Shehbaz Sharif to lead the Opposition in the National Assembly.

Sources however say the PML-N for holding highest number of seats in the NA (82) after PTI and winner of maximum number of seats in the Punjab Assembly (129) is interested in getting the Presidential slot in lieu of other positions to the PPP.

The matter of these other slots was also discussed in Tuesday’s meeting but was left for further deliberation and consultation until after Eid.

PML-N is annoyed over PPP’s backing out from supporting Shehbaz Sharif in the PM election. Yet both want to work in coordination on the contests for the slots of president, Opposition Leader in NA and the Senate positions.

Party sources say PML-N has so far not expressed opinion on the name of PPP candidate Aitzaz Ahsan, as it was also considering the names from its own ranks for this slot. They say the name of Iqbal Zafar Jaghra and Abdul Qadir Baloch are taking the lead so far in the party.

They say the party leadership and the PPP both weigh mutual benefits and advantages in going hand in hand in the Parliament on the opposition side as such both are less inclined to take stiff stand against each.

Sources say that thinking within the PML-N and the vibes coming from the PPP are positive for their mutual cooperation and understanding in the Parliament in case they have to give a tough time to the PTI on the floor of the House and outside.

For the PML-N, mutual cooperation is more significant since names of the Sharifs have been placed on the ECL and the party president is himself in the docks of accountability.

On the other, PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari, his sister and other leaders of the party are also facing money laundering and corruption charges.

Talking to media after meeting, Ahsan Iqbal said the opposition parties desired that a consensus and joint candidate should be fielded in the presidential election. He said for this end, a joint meeting of the opposition parties would be held after the Eid.

To a question about Aitzaz’s candidature, Ahsan while citing PPP leader Farhatullah Khan Babar said that Aitaz’s name was not final. He also underscored the need for unity of the opposition parties and said, the ruling party will be in advantageous position if the opposition is divided.