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August 30, 2018
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Presidential election: Fazl hopeful of withdrawal by Aitzaz in his favour

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August 30, 2018

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KARACHI: The Opposition's presidential aspirant Maulana Fazlur Rehman is hopeful that the Pakistan Peoples Party would withdraw its candidate Aitzaz Ahsan in his favor.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, the chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, said the opposition nominated him for being acceptable to the PPP which is at odds with the other parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz. Three bigwigs are in the run to become the 13th president of Pakistan for which the voting will be held on September 4 in the Parliament.

Consensus has so far eluded the opposition parties to field a joint candidate against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's Dr Arif Alvi. Now two days after the formal nomination, Rehman flew in to the metropolis to call on the Pakistan Muslim League – Functional, Grand Democratic Alliance and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement – Pakistan to elicit their support. They have an electoral college of 20 and nine respectively.

Following meeting with the GDA leaders at the Kingri House, Rehman said the PML-F chief Pir Sibghatullah Shah Rashidi has given a positive response, though he will apprise of his final decision after consulting other allies of the GDA. He said: “If the PML-N had agreed over Aitzaz then there would not have been any issue at all. But the delay in choosing a unanimous opposition’s candidate, is caused by the rift between the two parties. However, we are trying to convince the PPP for a joint candidate.” To a question if the PPP has fielded their candidate "as part of a deal" to reduce the prosecution's pressure against the party’s co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in the alleged cases of corruption, Fazl parried the reply saying:“I cannot answer this difficult question.” The JUI-F said although the PTI is the largest political party in the parliament but it lacks the majority required to bring in the new president.

He said while the JUI-F has strong reservations over the conduct of the general elections and its results, they decided to sit in the parliament, after the PPP and PML-N resolved to do so in the larger interests of democracy. Later, Rehman visited the MQM-P headquarters. Briefing media about the outcome of the meeting, he said he made his case before the party while highlighting the problems faced by the country and expressed the hope they will make the right decision. He said the MQM fully understands the dimensions of the country’s politics. Referring to the issues put before him by the MQM, Fazl said “we want to see all the cities and towns of the country marching towards progress together.”

Talking to the media, the MQM-P's senior deputy convener Amir Khan said the PTI has already sought his party’s support for Alvi and Rehman contacted us a little late. However, “we will discuss it in the party’s coordination committee.”

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