24 February 2024
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PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif on Friday got down to brass tacks with Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) founder Jahangir Tareen, with seat adjustments purportedly on the agenda. However, the specifics of the meeting have sparked contrasting narratives between political factions.

The IPP clarified that the proposal for seat adjustments was still in a nascent stage, requiring extensive deliberation and mutual agreement before maturing into a concrete arrangement.

Contrarily, the PML-N distanced itself from acknowledging the meeting altogether. Marriyum Aurangzeb, the party’s information secretary, underscored that all official meetings involving Shehbaz were publicly disclosed, dismissing this particular meeting as “source reports.”

When pressed about Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan’s confirmation of the meeting to The Express Tribune, Aurangzeb claimed ignorance, and therefore unable to confirm discussions reportedly held during the said meeting.

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According to Dr Firdos Ashiq, the meeting indeed took place between the IPP Jahangir Khan Tareen, Aun Chaudhry and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif. She clarified that the purpose of the meeting wasn’t to forge an alliance but to focus on ensuring free and fair elections. Although the discussion did involve a proposal for seat adjustment, she stressed that it was just an initial proposal needing thorough discussions from both sides.

The IPP spokesperson highlighted that her party boasts a large number of selectable. The extent to which PML-N is open to accommodating these candidates, and the level of space they are willing to provide to IPP, would ultimately shape the possibility of this proposal evolving into an alliance, she added.

Awan mentioned that if PML-N declines the required space, all talks on this matter would be futile. She indicated that both leaderships would present this proposal to their respective parties for input. Regarding any established modalities for a potential alliance, she clarified that nothing has been concluded yet. When questioned about the formation of a committee, similar to those established by PML-N for alliances with other parties, she denied any such committees.

Read more: Nawaz meets old foe Shujaat — finally

Addressing IPP’s recent critical stance against PML-N in the media, she noted that in politics, foes can become allies in no time. The IPP leader reiterated that the purpose of the meeting wasn’t exclusively for seat adjustments but to address broader issues concerning Pakistan, for which she emphasised that it was important to approach all stakeholders.

It is pertinent to note that the PML-N’s meeting with the IPP came a day after ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif reportedly reached a seat adjustment understanding with the PML-Q in a meeting with Chaudhry Shujaat. Shujaat’s son, Shafay Hussain, stated there was an agreement rested upon four National Assembly and eight provincial assembly seats.

Abdul Gh Lone

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