LONDON - For decades London has been a hub of Pakistani politics - mostly for the wrong reasons - and once again top politicians have gathered here amid rumours of conspiracies and reconciliations.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who has himself denied being a candidate for Punjab Chief Minister’s slot, is expected to meet Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shehbaz Sharif in the coming days to decide the future course of action.

Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, known as the ‘kingmaker’ back home, is already in the town and so is Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood, from the Pakistan People’s Party.

There has been, however, no meeting so far between the top politicians from the PML-N, the PPP, and PML (Quaid-e-Azam). Even though all the mentioned politicians have denied rumours of a ‘London plan’ there are speculations that something is cooking.

Sources close to the political leaders, present in London, told The Nation that all of them were in the United Kingdom for their own reasons but a meeting or contact can never be ruled out.

Top politicians in UK amid rumours

“Even if they contact Shehbaz Sharif to inquire about his health, there could still be some exchange of views about politics. The situation in Pakistan invites such exchange of views,” said one source.

The possible change of Chief Minister in Punjab and a movement against the government is too mouth-watering for the opposition leaders not to discuss.

PML-Q too is only half into the government. They believe they can better run Punjab if Chaudhry Pervez Elahi is given the CM’s slot.

There have been reports of a possible reconciliation between Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and the Sharif brothers. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has also not totally denied it.

Speaking to journalists here, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said he had not contacted Shehbaz Sharif but added that the Sharifs first have to respond positively to his advice before any reconciliation.

For the time being, he said the PML-Q will continue supporting Prime Minister Imran Khan to “eradicate poverty and inflation.”

Hussain said he had not accepted an offer by PML-N to forget the past differences and start a new partnership.

“Nawaz Sharif paid no heed to stay away from flatterers upon becoming Prime Minister (in 2013). I also advised him against arrogance, but he didn’t act,” the PML-Q chief said.

There were speculations that Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan could take oath as a member of the provincial assembly to possibly become the new Chief Minister replacing Usman Buzdar but the estranged PML-N leader rejected reports.

The rumours have not died down. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is still in the picture and could very well return to power politics.

Shehbaz Sharif has been known to be close to Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan. The PML-N needs as much support from the PML-Q as they provided to the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf to form a government in Punjab. The PTI-led government in the centre too is not ‘self-reliant’ and cannot afford a united opposition.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had contested election as an independent candidate, but he could not succeed on national assembly seats and met defeat at the hands of Chaudhry Ghulam Sarwar of PTI. He had succeeded on provincial assembly seat but has not taken the oath so far.

Political pundits believe if the politicians got together to see Shehbaz Sharif, it could mean sleepless nights for the PTI leadership.

“They don’t need to unite. They only need to sit together to pressurize the PTI. All of them (the PML-N, the PPP and the PML-Q are pressing the PTI in their own ways. The London plan is working,” said a close aide of the Sharif family.

Shehbaz Sharif had his second checkup with Dr Tim Briggs on April 18 at the London Clinic in the Royal Free Hospital Sharif could undergo an ultrasound test which has been scheduled for April 24. The PML-N President has also been spending time with his grandchildren.

Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto had signed the Charter of Democracy in London before returning from exile to contest the 2008 polls. The PPP had won those elections and for a brief period, the PML-N remained a coalition partner of the PPP.

The two parties later broke the partnership and eventually, PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari ended the reconciliation policy altogether.

London is once again the place to keep an eye on. Even a small understanding between the parties in this city could lay the foundation of a ‘Greater London plan’ in the future.