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Pakistan’s ruling coalition in Trouble

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Islamabad

As the next elections in Pakistan intensify, there are signs of differences in the ruling coalition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). The latest example is the publicly expressed displeasure of Jamaat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazlur (JUI-F), the third largest party in the alliance. It has been told in some reports that some parties involved in PDM are considering entering the fray separately in the election.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has expressed his strong objection to the recent Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) meeting in Dubai. Rahman is also the president of the PDM. He has said that before holding such a meeting in Dubai, the PML-N should have taken all the parties involved in the alliance into confidence. Apart from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, all the top leaders of PML-N attended the Dubai meeting. Party supremo Nawaz Sharif had come to Dubai from London for this meeting. Earlier, Shahbaz Sharif went to London and discussed with his elder brother.

It is said that the party’s strategy for the next general elections was chalked out in the Dubai meeting. According to sources, Fazlur Rehman is more upset that the PML-N called the leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to Dubai for consultations, while he was not informed about it. Talking to reporters, Rahman said- ‘Parties involved in PDM are asking the question why they were not taken into confidence regarding the Dubai meeting.’

According to media reports, Nawaz Sharif had invited PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to Dubai on June 27 last. According to these reports, the two leaders also discussed the date of the next general elections and possible names for the Prime Minister in the caretaker government to be formed before that. Sharif and Zardari are said to have reached an agreement on these two issues, while Fazlur Rehman and leaders of other parties involved in the PDM are in the dark about it.

The PDM was formed last year to topple the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. The largest party in this alliance is the PML-N, while the PPP is the second largest party. The JUI-F is the third largest party with its base mainly in religious groups.

This comment of Fazlur Rehman has been given a lot of importance in the Pakistani media that PDM is no longer needed. When asked about the future of PDM, Rahman said that PDM was formed to oust the PTI government, so it is no longer needed.

The rule in Pakistan is that a caretaker government is formed before elections. Caretaker governments have taken over in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. A caretaker government is going to be started soon in two more provinces – Sindh and Balochistan as well as at the Center. Caretaker governments have been formed with the consent of all parties, but this time Imran Khan’s party PTI has not been included in the process.

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