Tuesday Aug 28, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) members have opposed withdrawal of party candidate Aitzaz Ahsan from the forthcoming presidential election, sources informed Geo News Tuesday.
PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari summoned a party meeting on Tuesday to discuss cooperation sought by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rahman for a consensus presidential candidate.
The party members met to discuss Fazl’s request and take a final decision on a presidential candidate.
Sources said the meeting reviewed possible repercussions and political gains of supporting Fazl as consensus candidate, however, PPP members opposed Ahsan's withdrawal from the race.
Zardari said the JUI-F leader was a respected figure for them, but they had to make a "political decision", according to sources, adding that the PPP could not compromise its principled politics.
The PPP co-chairman also apprised the attendees of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's views and that the party chairman had declared Ahsan as their final candidate.
Sources said the meeting also pondered over the future of opposition alliance after presidential election. The PPP leaders noted that the party had its own manifesto and politics and opposition parties could opt for similar stance from issues to issues.
The meeting decided that the PPP would fully contest by-elections in the country, fielding candidates in every constituency.
A day earlier, the JUI-F chief, who has submitted his nomination papers for the presidential election to be held on September 4 after being fielded as the nominee of all opposition parties except PPP, called on the former president and sought cooperation.
Sources disclosed that the JUI-F leader requested Zardari to withdraw PPP candidate Senator Aitzaz Ahsan from the presidential contest.
Fazl also told the former president that except the PPP, all opposition parties were supporting his candidacy for the office of the country's president and that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) objected to Ahsan's candidacy.
He also said that if the opposition remained divided then the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s candidate Dr Arif Alvi will benefit.
Fazl, Ahsan and Alvi have submitted their nomination papers for the presidential election.
Speaking on Geo News programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal said the PPP nominated Ahsan for the office of the country’s president because they knew it was “unacceptable to PML-N”.
Meanwhile, PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said there is no better candidate than Ahsan for the office of the country’s president.
“May be PML-N is supporting Fazl for the post of president to take revenge from PPP for not supporting Shehbaz Sharif during the prime minister election,” Kaira said while speaking on Geo News programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath.
“We had reservations over nomination of Shehbaz for the country’s prime minister,” he added.
Kaira also urged the PML-N to clarify whether it was opposing Ahsan’s candidacy “as a form of revenge”.
Commenting on PML-N leader Mushahidullah Khan’s statement that Ahsan “termed Kulsoom Nawaz's illness as fake", Kaira said, “He did not disrespect her in any way.”
Candidates have until Thursday, August 30 to withdraw their nomination papers, after which the final list will be made public on the same day.
Polling for the presidential election will be held on September 4.
The president is elected by an electoral college comprising members of the Senate, National Assembly, and the four provincial assemblies. Voting is held through a secret ballot.