ISLAMABAD - The chances of opposition parties to bring joint candidate in Sept 4 presidential election further shrink as the Pakistan People’s Party refused to withdraw Ch Aitzaz Ahsan in favour of Maulana Fazlur Rehman on latter’s request to Asif Ali Zardari.
PPP central leadership held meeting here on Tuesday to review the request of support in presidential elections extended by Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman extended to Asif Ali Zardari on Monday.
The meeting reviewed the matter and its impact on the future politics of PPP. Majority of the members in attendance including Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Ch Manzoor, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Syed Khursheed Shah, Farhatullah Babar, Ch Aitzaz Ahsan, Sherry Rehman and Maula Bux Chandio were not in favour of extending support to Fazlur Rehman as it would leave negative impact on the future politics of the party.
The stance of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was also presented before the participants wherein he (Bilawal) said ”My first, second and third choice for presidential election is Aitzaz Ahsan.”
The participants finally concluded that instead of extending support to Fazlur Rehman, efforts should be made to convince him (Fazl) to withdraw in favour of PPP candidate to keep the opposition parties united.
The meeting further decided that in upcoming by-polls on national and provincial assemblies seats PPP would fully participate and would field their candidates. So in a way PPP stood apart from rest of the opposition parties which had initially decided to field joint candidates in by-polls.
It was further decided in the meeting that PPP would deal with other opposition parties on issue to issue basis as the party could not deviate from party’s ideology, a participant in the meeting informed The Nation.
Taking the final decision on not entertaining Fazlur Rehman’s request made to Asif Zardari on Monday, a PPP delegation went to the residence of Fazlur Rehman to inform him about the party’s decision and to convince him to withdraw in favour of Aitzaz Ahsan for the greater cause of democracy.
PPP delegation comprising Mian Raza Rabbani, Raja Pervez Ahsraf, Sherry Rehman, Ch Manzoor and Qamar Zaman Kaira informed Maulana about the party’s decision and extended request on behalf of Asif Zardari to support Aitzaz and withdraw in his favour.
Talking to media after the meeting, Fazlur Rehman said that he has cordial relations with both Aitzaz Ahsan and Asif Zardari and hoped that they would manage to reach at some consensus.
He further said that it was their desire to see opposition parties jointly contest presidential election and would try to evolve consensus and make all stakeholders to land on same page.
When on Monday Fazlur Rehman met Asif Zardari and forwarded request for support in the presidential election he flatly refused but on his insistence he agreed to put the matter before the party’s central leadership which also came up with the same decision.
Fazl said he was forced into the race as the two major political parties in opposition were not ready to agree on some candidate so he was put in the race by opposition parties sans PPP with the hope that PPP might extend support to his candidature for the slot.
Fazl was still hopeful of keeping the opposition parties united and PPPP President Asif Zardari will withdraw Aitzaz Ahsan from the race for greater cause of democracy and joint opposition.
PPP central leader on the occasion said that both sides were positively taking the issue and as couple of days are left for withdrawal of the candidates for presidential election he sound optimistic for a breakthrough.
PPP refuses to withdraw Aitzaz in Fazl’s favour