LAHORE - The move for the unification of various factions of Muslim League minus PML-N has gone dormant for the time being and will resurrect when the situation becomes suitable.

The sources closely watching the developments on this side say that the move for unification of factions of Muslim League is almost over as the Leagues which had evinced interest in the past to join hands are now going by their own interests given the current situation in which focus of the state institutions is on the vital issues of national importance and political instability is not acceptable to them.

The sources say the PML-N is showing no problem as the disgruntled elements which were likely to switch over have reached reconciliation while doors have been closed for the party rebels. About disgruntled senator of PML-N and former Punjab governor, Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khosa from Dera Ghazi Khan, the sources say his request for a meeting with the prime minister is pending, which shows the unification move is running out of steam.

The sources also say focus of the power that be (backing for which is traditionally considered necessary in a political move) is on eliminating terrorism and doesn’t want any hurdle in the way of its mission, particularly from the political side. So Leagues have halted their activity which they are likely to revive near the local government elections.

The Muslim Leagues’ unification plan kick-started mid last year was aimed at combining political force of the Leaguers against the ruling PML-N. In the scheme of the unification, non-Muslim League leaders angry with the PPP government in Sindh were also to get representation. Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khosa and former PML-N Sindh President Syed Ghaus Ali Shah who had serious reservations against the party leadership for different reasons were in the limelight when the move to bring the Muslim Leagues closer and on a single platform was on. Shah is annoyed with the PML-N over its Sindh policy of playing friendly with PPP and not taking him on board on the party affairs, while Sardar Zulfiqar was angry with the Sharifs, alleging they were taking solo flight in every matter and ignoring the workers who suffered and sacrificed for the party while they were in Saudi Arabia. When the Sharifs came back, they overlooked the workers and accepted those who had been very close to former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

The observers drawing another aspect say that denial of the party ticket to his son Dost Muhammad Khosa in the last election is one of the reasons for Sardar Sahibs’ fury against the N leadership.

PML-F President Peer Sadruddin Rashidi, former CM Sindh Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, another ex-CM Sindh, Liaquat Ali Jatoi, former National Assembly Speaker Elahi Bahksh Soomro and Mumtaz Ali Bhutto of National Party were in touch for a single platform and held meetings for this purpose. At the time of the last general elections, almost all these leaders were part of the N-League, but they felt marginalised and ignored by the N Leadership. In the subsequent development, when they held a meeting in Sindh, other factions like PML-Q, APML, Awami Muslim League also came close to them. It was decided that all the factions of the unified Muslim League would retain their identity, but act upon a common programme to be supervised by a patron. It was also decided that other estranged Leaguers in KP and Balochistan like Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, Saranjam Khan and others would be contacted. However, the PTI sit-in and the December 16 Peshawar school tragedy markedly changed the things as well as political requirements, which also affected the unification efforts. The Senate elections also affected the unification efforts as the PML-N supported the PML-F candidate in Sindh and held meetings with other leaders of the party to address their grievances.

When contacted, Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa told The Nation that their efforts were continuing as many PML-N leaders were not satisfied with the leadership for being ignored despite the fact they stood by the party through thick and thin. He said many party legislators do not accept the way PML-N affairs are being handled, but they do not speak openly for fear of facing wrath of the leadership. To a question, he categorically denied to have contacted the party leadership and said he is a man of principles and his political record shows his integrity and stance for the truth.

To another question whether the unified Muslim League could show its presence in the local government elections in Punjab and Sindh, he said it was subject to discussions and consensus of all. Sardar Sahib expressed serious reservations over the local government law which, he said, gave the supervisory authority to the CM over the district councils, adversely affecting the efficacy of the system.