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Monday, December 11, 2023

Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif initiates 'Quetta mission' to garner support from 'electables'

LAHORE: Commencing a two-day visit to Balochistan, PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif aims to build strategic alliances ahead of the February 8 general elections, Dawn reported on Tuesday.
Following a recent meeting with MQM-P leaders in Lahore, where alliance discussions against the PPP in Sindh took place, Sharif received an invitation from the ‘Sardars of Balochistan’ to visit Quetta.
PML-N senior leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq anticipates political meetings in Quetta, with the announcement of several electables joining the party. During a prior visit, Sadiq engaged with “several electables”, including Jam Kamal and Nawabzada Haji Lashkari Raisof the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), who expressed interest in potential collaboration, according to Dawn.
Sources, cited by Dawn, suggest that some former and current BAP leaders may announce joining the PML-N during Sharif’s visit. Given past affiliations and positive relationships, the party appears optimistic about securing strategic partners in Balochistan.
PML-N is reportedly eyeing at least 25 sardars/electables from Balochistan, a region where electables play a crucial role in elections.
“In Balochistan, the role of electables is very crucial in polls. Similarly, in south Punjab, this electable factor matters a lot. In coming days more and more electables will prefer the PML-N over the PPP or any other party,” a senior party leader from Punjab told Dawn.
Balochistan’s electable factor, along with the support of individuals with ties to the Sharifs in Prime Minister Kakar’s cabinet, is positioning PML-N strategically.
PML-N Balochistan chapter president Sheikh Jaffar Khan Mandokhail outlines Sharif’s planned meetings with key figures, including PkMAP Chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai, National Party President Malik Baloch, former CM Jam Kamal, and BAP leaders.
Meanwhile, the PPP is also actively seeking support from electables in Balochistan. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari highlights the party’s commitment to addressing Balochistan’s problems and announces an election campaign rally in Quetta on November 30.
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif’s son, Hamza Shehbaz, acknowledges the challenging nature of the upcoming polls, emphasizing the need for collaboration among parties to navigate the country through crises. Regarding the role of the establishment, Hamza considers it a positive sign if there is support for the government and stresses the importance of cordial relations.
Speaking with journalists in Lahore on Monday, the PML-N leader said all parties should work together to steer the country out of crises. In reply to a question about the role of the establishment and the PML-N’s relations with it, he said it was a good sign if the establishment supported the government.
“It is also a good thing if there are cordial relations with the establishment,” Hamza added.
Asked whether Nawaz Sharif was new blue-eyed of the military establishment, he said, “When I was in the opposition, the people would call Imran Khan a blue-eyed,” Dawn reported.

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