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April 8, 2021

ANP, JUI-F back, PPP reluctant to support PML-N in NA-249

Top Story

April 8, 2021

KARACHI: After the PDM's component parties had jointly taken part in the recent by-polls held across the country, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is confident that it may gain support of all major political parties, including the PPP, ANP and JUI-F in the upcoming NA-249 by-polls in Karachi.

But after the recent differences in the ranks of the PDM, PML-N leaders are worried that the PPP may not support its candidate, former federal finance minister Miftah Ismail, in the NA-249 by-polls. Balloting will be held on April 29 to elect the public representative of the NA-249. The last NA-249 election had been a close contest, with Vawda securing 35,344 votes to defeat Shahbaz Sharif, the PML-N’s central president and former chief minister Punjab polling 34,626 votes.

Despite the fact that the ANP on Tuesday formally announced its separation from the PDM, its Sindh leadership announced to withdraw its candidate for the NA-249, backing PML-N’s Ismail. On Wednesday, a PML-N delegation, led by Ismail, visited the Bacha Khan Markaz, the ANP’s provincial headquarters in Karachi, to seek the party’s support in the by-polls.

Talking to the media after the meeting, Younas Bunariee, the ANP’s Sindh General Secretary, announced that the party had decided to withdraw its candidate Haji Aurangzeb Khan, who is also the former Nazim Baldia Town, in favour of Ismail.

Bunariee said that the ANP is a democratic party and is free to make its own decisions at the provincial level and after consulting with the provincial coordination committee, the ANP had decided to support the PML-N in the NA-249 by-polls. “Though the ANP is no more with the PDM, its struggle for democracy will continue," Bunariee said. Ismail thanked the ANP leadership for withdrawing its candidate in his favour and said that the PML-N favours a strong federation. “The ANP’s support has infused energy in our hopes and strengthened the party’s position in the by-polls,” he said. Meanwhile, the JUI-F’s Sindh leadership, which fielded Maulana Umar Sadiq, former MPA from Baldia Town, for the by-polls, were opposing withdrawal in favour of the PML-N candidate.

However, after the intervention of the party chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the party’s Sindh leaders, in a meeting with the PML-N on Thursday will announce to withdraw Sadiq in favour of PML-N candidate Ismail, The News has learnt.

On the other hand, the PPP is showing reluctance to withdraw its candidate Abdul Qadir Mandokhel in favour of the PML-N.

On March 20, former prime minister and PML-N’s senior leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met PPP supremo Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the Bilawal House in Karachi to seek support for the NA-249 by-polls. “But the PPP did not give any response to its request of support in the NA-249 by-polls yet,” Ismail said.

On Wednesday, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari met the party’s District West leaders, including MNA Abdul Qadir Patel, district president Liaquat Askani, secretary-general Ali Ahmed Jan and candidate Mandokhel and discussed the upcoming by-polls in the constituency.

After the meeting, PPP Sindh secretary general Waqar Mehdi had formally handed over the party’s ticket to Mandokhel.

“District West is the PPP’s stronghold and residents have always supported the party because of the development work the party carried out in the district,” said Mehdi.