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PML-N, Like-minded form political alliance; Likeminded to get 11% seats in national, provincial assemblies.

LAHORE -- Leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the PML (Like-minded) group on Saturday signed an agreement at Raiwind to form a political alliance for general elections which was signed by general secretaries of both the parties and also finalized seat-to-seat adjustments.

Speaking at the press conference where the agreement was announced, Humayun Akhtar, general secretary of the Likeminded group, briefed the media on the number of seats allotted to the party.

"According to the agreement made between the two parties, 30 (which comes to 11 percent) general seats in the National Assembly have been allotted to Likeminded group in the upcoming elections," said Humayun Akhtar.

He said that the same percentage of general seats has been allotted to Likeminded group for all the provinces, adding that allocation of reserved seats for women, minorities and the Senate was to be based on other terms.

"Likeminded group will be given fair representation in parliamentary boards, manifesto committees and bodies for future alliances," said the PML-Likeminded general secretary.

The Likeminded group, led by Hamid Nasir Chattha, has some of the political heavyweights of Punjab and Sindh including Humayun Akhtar and Arbab Ghulam Rahim.

Talking to a private TV channel, chief of N-League, Nawaz Sharif said that Mian Atta Mohammad Manika is the provincial president of the Likeminded group but his real connection is with the forward block of Q-League. Replying to a question about the possibility of Chaudhrys of Gujrat joining the N-League, Nawaz said that Chaudhrys were enjoying the government, and when their enjoyment comes to an end then the N-League will consider such proposals.

Earlier on Wednesday, chief of the Sindh National Front (SNF) Mumtaz Ali Bhutto had announced that he and his party would operate under the PML-N flag-a merger believed by many analysts to be a breakthrough for PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif in forming an anti-PPP grand alliance.

Last year, the Likeminded group had entered into negotiations with PTI Chairman Imran Khan to discuss a possible alliance. But the talks broke down after Imran asked Likeminded leaders to join his party individually or collectively.

The Likeminded group split, with Chattha and his supporters favoring an alliance with the PTI, while Humayun Akhtar pushing for joining hands with the PML-N. Sources, however, say that on Saturday both groups would join hands with the PML-N.

Sources said that it took Akhtar a lot of efforts to convince Chattha to agree to an alliance as the latter and Nawaz have been political rivals since 1993.

Sources said that ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections, the PML-N is inching towards its goal of piecing together a 'grand political alliance'. After assimilating the Sindh National Front, the party has engaged the PML-Likeminded, a breakaway faction of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PMLQ).

Sources believe that Nawaz would use Chattha to launch an offensive against the Chaudhrys of Gujrat and seek Shujaat Hussain's disqualification as president of the PML-Q.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:May 13, 2012
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