At least two dozen prominent politicians from Balochistan joined the PML-N after a meeting in Quetta with its supreme leader, Nawaz Sharif. Nawaz Sharif arrived in the provincial capital on a two-day visit to woo ‘electables’ in the lead-up to the February 8 elections.
The former prime minister also met the leadership of several political parties at a hotel. The media were not allowed to enter the hotel.
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz also attended the meeting.
It may be noted that PML-N leaders Ayaz Sadiq and Jaffar Khan Mandokhel (who heads the provincial chapter of the party) had been holding negotiations with these electables to persuade them to join the PML-N. These politicians, however, had said that they would join the former ruling party only in the presence of Nawaz Sharif.
The prominent leaders and notables included former minister Sardar Fateh Mohammad, Mujeebur Rehman Mohammad Hasni, Mir Saleem Ahmed Khosa, Mir Faiq Ali Jamali, and ex-senator Saeedul Hassan. They all belonged to the PPP.
Former BAP members Mir Asim Kurd, ex-CM Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, Mir Dostain Khan Domki, Ghafoor Lehri, Mohammad Khan Lehri, Shoaib Nusherwani, Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran, Sardar Masood Khan Luni, Mohammad Khan Toor Utmankhel, Noor Mohammad Dummar, Agha Faisal Ahmedzai, and Dr Rubaba Buledi also joined the PML-N.
Former ministers Mir Khan Mohammad Jamali, Mir Omer Khan Jamali, and Sardar Atif Sanjrani, who hail from the PTI, also entered the folds of the PML-N.
Senator Dr. Ashok Kumar of the National Party and Meena Zeenat Shahwani of the BNP-Mengal also parted ways with their parties to join hands with Nawaz Sharif.
Similarly, Sardar Niamatullah, Engineer Basant Lal Gulshan, Raamen Mohammad Hasni, Sardar Ali Haider Mohammad Hasni, Mir Attaullah Buledi, Sardarzada Idrees Taj, Haji Noorullah Lehri, Sher Gul Khilji, Mir Anwar Shahwani, Jaffar Karim Bhangar, Haji Barkat Ali Rind, Malik Shehryar, and Shoukat Bangulzai also entered the PML-N camp.
On the other hand, the meeting with the leadership of Balochistan-based political parties did not prove to be fruitful. Sources said a formal consensus on forging an election alliance or establishing a joint electoral platform to contest polls in the province could not be reached.
The parties that called on the former premier included the Balochistan Awami Party, the Balochistan National Party-Mengal, the Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), and the National Party. PkMAP chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai and JUI-F’s Balochistan chapter leader Abdul Wasay did not attend the meeting.
BAP’s delegation was headed by Khalid Magsi, while Abdul Malik led the National Party’s delegation.
After the meeting with Mr. Sharif, BAP leader Khalid Magsi said it was an informal meeting wherein “we welcomed Mr. Sharif and he expressed his views”.
The BAP leader said more meetings with the PML-N would be held in the future, which would be focused on electoral alliances.
According to insiders, it was an “informal meeting” held at the invitation of the PML-N president and no decision was taken regarding elections.
Sources said the leaders who met the PML-N supremo discussed the overall situation prevailing in the country, particularly Balochistan. The nationalist parties’ leaders relayed their reservations and apprehensions about the issues being faced by the province and the results of the previous elections.
Mr. Sharif, while welcoming those who joined the party, said their inclusion would pave the way for a “strong government” in Balochistan after general elections.
“The development of Balochistan has always been dear to PML-N. Our government started the construction of thousands of kilometers of highways and roads in the province to eradicate poverty,” Mr. Sharif said.
He also mentioned the construction of a 600-kilometer road from Gwadar to Quetta, which reduced the journey from the port city to the provincial capital to eight hours.