MQM-P Seeks Level Playing Field For All Parties In Elections

MQM-P delegation to meet with PML-N's Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday to discuss transparency in polls

MQM-P Seeks Level Playing Field For All Parties In Elections

With the intervention of the Supreme Court resulting in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) confirming the much-awaited date for general elections, major political parties in the country have started consultations and meetings with each other to chalk out their respective strategies.

In this regard, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has been invited by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif to discuss the upcoming elections, slated for February 8, 2024. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif had called Siddiqui on Monday to extend an invitation for the meeting.

"Our delegation comprising Khalid Maqbol Siddiqui, Farooq Sattar, and Mustafa Kamal will hold a meeting with PML-N supremo Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif,” said MQM-P leader Zahid Malik while talking to The Friday Times. The meeting is expected to take place in Lahore on Tuesday.

Malik said that during the meeting, MQM-P leaders will likely share their opinions with the PML-N on ensuring a level playing field for all political parties who contest the upcoming elections.

Every political party, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), should have an equal opportunity to contest in the polls, the MQM-P leader stated.

To a question, Malik said their delegation is likely to discuss free, fair and transparent elections in the country with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The party will discuss ensuring the polls as per the schedule given by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

On the possibility of seat adjustments, Malik said seat adjustment with the PML-N was a possibility, but it is something for the party's leadership to finalise. At the moment, however, he said that it was simply too early to comment on it.

Following his return to Pakistan in October after a four-year-long self-exile, Nawaz has started holding consultative meetings with the central leadership of major political parties as it chalks out a strategy for the upcoming elections. 

On Monday, it emerged that Nawaz had spoken via telephone with former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, with the two discussing agreeing to work together to 'save the country' by taking important decisions in consultation with each other.

Both agreed that all stakeholders would need to play their role in saving the state. The call ended with both leaders inviting the other for a meeting and a meeting between the two is expected soon.

Meanwhile, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari played down the call, noting that it took place a while ago. He added that the PPP's doors are open to all political parties. 

After the Election Commission last week announced the date of February 8, 2024, for general elections after consultations with President Dr Arif Alvi, it has finally cleared the uncertainty surrounding the franchise exercise. 

The political parties and independents across the country have now formally launched their election campaigns. 

The candidates are likely to be directed by their party leaders to formally launch election campaigns in their respective constituencies, and the election campaigns are expected to start gaining momentum from next week.

Senior political leaders and experts say the announcement of the election date and the weight the Supreme Court has thrown behind elections has rung the proverbial elections 'bells' in the country, and political parties are now off to the electoral races.