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August 25, 2018
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Presidential election: Opposition meets in Murree today to pick joint candidate

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August 25, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The opposition parties are descending on Murree today (Saturday) to reach consensus on fielding a joint candidate against the PTI’s Arif Alvi in the September 4 presidential election.

The PML-N President and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Shahbaz Sharif, is hosting the All Parties Conference of the opposition parties at his residence in Murree. Cracks in the opposition parties’ alliance have further widened following the PPP's unilateral decision to nominate Aitzaz Ahsan as its candidate for the president.

Soon after the PPP announced Aitzaz as its candidate, the PML-N categorically rejected him, saying the PPP had not consulted any of the opposition parties before the decision. The PML-N is also angry because the PPP refused to vote for Shahbaz Sharif in the August 17 election for the prime minister because of his controversial statements against the PPP leadership in the past.

Leaders of PPP, MMA, ANP, PKMAP, National Party and other parties will attend theNational Party and other parties will attend the APC.

The PPP delegation will comprise Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Syed Khursheed Shah, Raza Rabbani, Aitzaz Ahsan and Senator Sherry Rehman.

The decision to develop consensus on fielding a joint opposition candidate was taken in a meeting between the PPP and PML-N at Lahore on Tuesday.

After rejection of Aitzaz’s candidature by the PML-N, it was decided that the opposition parties will meet to decide a joint candidate against Dr Arif Alvi, who represents the ruling PTI.

According to sources, despite the PML-N reservations, the PPP has decided to lobby for Aitzaz Ahsan.

In this regard, Syed Khursheed Shah called up MMA President and JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, PKMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai and ANP and National Party leaders and discussed the possibilities of reaching consensus on the name of Aitzaz Ahsan.

The sources said the PPP will also make all-out efforts to win the PML-N’s support for Aitzaz. However, the PML-N is in no mood to agree on his name due to his hard statements against the Sharif family after Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification by the Supreme Court.

The sources said the PML-N will propose any other consensus candidate in place of Aitzaz Ahsan.

The opposition parties will also discuss the possibilities of bringing a new Senate chairman in view of their numerical strength in the Upper House of parliament.

The PML-N will also seek the opposition parties’ cooperation for its 'justice for Nawaz Sharif' campaign. The opposition will also decide on lodging a strong protest both inside and outside parliament against the alleged rigging in July 25 general elections.

Meanwhile, PML-N leader and former information minister Pervaiz Rashid on Friday said his party would consider supporting the candidature of PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan for the president if he visited the Adiala Jail and apologised to Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for his remarks.

Speaking to the media persons outside the Adiala Jail after meeting the incarcerated PML-N leaders, Pervaiz said his party was busy consulting with other opposition parties to field a joint candidate against the ruling PTI’s Arif Alvi in the upcoming presidential election.

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