KARACHI - Muttahida’s unconditional support to PML-N’s presidential candidate has ensured the ruling party’s victory in the upcoming presidential election as their electoral strength has surged to 416 votes with the addition of 48 votes of MQM.

After a decade-long rivalry between the two political parties, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) the first direct contact with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Saturday when a PML-N delegation arrived at MQM’s headquarter to request the opposition party for support in the presidential election. As the ice melted, the Karachi-based party of London-based Altaf Hussain agreed to back the Nawaz-League.

The PML-N team, led by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and including party’s presidential candidate Mammon Hussain and other party leaders, reached Nine Zero, they were warmly welcomed by MQM leaders and workers. The formal meeting was participated by MQM Deputy Convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddique, Amir Khan, Nasreen Jalil, Sardar Ahmed, Dr Farooq Sattar and others. The PML-N delegation reportedly also talked to MQM chief Altaf Hussain via telephone after which the latter decided to support the former’s candidate.

Later at a joint press conference, Ishaq Dar said that PML-N thanked MQM and its leadership for their unconditional support for presidential polls. He said that country is facing multiple challenges and Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif believed that all political forces should be on one page to counter the major issues likewise terrorism, economic crisis, energy shortage and inflation.

Mammon Hussain also thanked MQM for their support and the warmed welcome. He said that if elected, he would be a president of the whole nation. He pledged to resolve the all major issues of Sindh and especially Karachi as he said he too belongs to the port city.

Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi said the MQM has announced unconditional support for the presidential candidate of the PML-N with a hope of good governance and strengthening the democracy. He said they expect the present government would make all out efforts to eliminate poverty and illiteracy and cope with the economic crisis. He congratulated PML-N for their victory in the general elections and said his party believed that Nawaz government would bring the country out of the troubled waters.

Dr Khalid said MQM chief Altaf Hussain has also made it clear that there should be zero tolerance on corruption. In statement issued from London Altaf Hussain said that they have always worked for the betterment of the country and supported every cause in national interest. He said Nawaz Sharif were like brothers to him and his party believes that PML-N would do everything possible to solve the problems facing the country.

Before visiting Nine Zero, the PML-N delegation called on Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan at the Governor House. During the meeting various issues came under discussion, especially the presidential election process. MQM leader Baber Ghori was also present on the occasion.

The boycott of the presidential polls by the PPP, ANP and PML-Q, and support of the MQM for the PML-N has ensured PML-N candidate of an easy victory as PTI has failed to gain support of other opposition parties for its candidate Justice R Wajheeuddin Ahmed.

The PML-N’s political relationship with the MQM has never been easy. They had first joined ranks after the general elections in 1990, but this coalition could not last long and the MQM parted ways with the PML-N-led coalition government in 1992 after the federal government’s decision to launch an operation in urban areas of Sindh, including Karachi. An All-Parties Conference held in 2007 in London, of which the PML-N was a part, had resolved not to have any contact with the MQM alleging the party had a role in May 12 Karachi carnage the same year. In the recent past, they also indulged in a dirty war of words and charges of immorality against each other’s top leadership. Talking to the media representative at the airport upon their arrival, Ishaq Dar said that PML-N respects the mandate of every political segment across the country and the delegation is visiting the Sindh to bring up all the political parties on board and ensure their participation in presidential polls. Commenting on the boycott by PPP and its allies, Dar said that this was against the democratic norms and he termed it an immature act.