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EditorialEver-changing political landscape

Ever-changing political landscape

In the coming weeks, it would become clear how the political parties take part in the next elections. Will they join hands to prevent the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) from having an upper hand or would they go for it on their own.  Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief and Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) President Maulana Fazlur Rehman has somewhat cleared the picture.

He intends to go solo in the elections rather than contest under the banner of the PDM, which is a nine-party alliance with the PML-N leading it. Though the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is not part of the alliance, it is supporting it. Maulana Fazal’s comments come on the heels of Defence Minister and senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Mohammad Asif’s proposal that the component parties of the alliance jointly contest the polls.

Talking to journalists at the residence of PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq, the Maulana insisted that the PDM was not an electoral alliance and therefore it was unlikely that the component parties would contest the elections on a single platform. But, he did not rule out seat adjustments with the parties in the alliance. This is the same stance the PPP has taken. It too has hinted at going for seat adjustment with the PML-N in Punjab.

Khawaja Asif, on the other hand, was of the view that the PDM parties should take part in the upcoming polls together. If at all, the PDM wants to limit PTI’s vote bank, it should take no chances and take the plunge together. However, what needs to be seen is if Imran Khan’s party still remains a formidable force?

Following the May 9 incident, the PTI has taken a lot of bashing, with most of its electable candidates parting ways.

Even some of the members who had been awarded tickets in Punjab had returned them. The PTI dissidents have now divided into three further groups. One has taken a leave from politics, the other is trying to join various parties, with the PPP and the PML-Q likely choices and the third is going for independent groupings. One group of former PTI members are in contact with Jehangir Tareen and the other has joined hands with Murad Raas who has formed the Democrats Group.

PPP is seeing a re-emergence in South Punjab, and is also getting strong in Balochistan. Sindh is its home base. On the other hand, the PML-N is not taking chances this time. It has shut the doors on those leaving the PTI and looking to join other parties.

The PML-N has learnt from its past experience when it awarded tickets to those who defected from the PTI and lost. It is however too early to predict what alliances are likely to emerge.

Pakistan’s political landscape is ever changing, and one cannot say what would be the final outcome. However, one thing is for sure, every political move would be taken keeping the PTI’s support on the ground in mind.

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