PPP Extends Olive Branch to PTI Eyeing LG Polls

Asif Ali Zardari’s PPP and Imran Khan’s PTI may be at loggerheads on the national political front, but at the local level, there seems to be some willingness to work together. 

The local chapters of both parties are said to have established contact over the upcoming local government elections in cantonment areas and in an unprecedented move, are said to be considering a seat adjustment in the elections to the Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonment boards.

Asif Zardari

Local PPP leader and former Baitul Maal head Zamarud Khan reached out to PTI Punjab North General Secretary Zahid Kazmi to arrange meeting on the issue. However, a senior PTI leader told Dawn that the party was not in the mood to form alliances with any political party and wanted to participate in the cantonment elections without others’ help. He said that Zamarud Khan had sent a delegation of local PPP workers to the PTI’s offices on Tuesday afternoon for two hours to initiate talks. He said that the delegates had presented two proposals for seats adjustment as per a 50-per cent sharing formula. On the other hand, a local PPP leader told Dawn the party was having difficulty fielding candidates on all seats as some old party workers had not submitted applications for the polls, forcing them to approach the PTI and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) for seat adjustments. 

“During the previous PPP regime, local workers were ignored and most people were not ready to support the party in the cantonment elections. Workers who ran the party’s affairs in cantonment areas had either joined the PTI or opted to stay at home. A week ago, prominent PPP leader Babu Adrees had joined the PTI too and was expected to contest the election on a PTI ticket,” he said. He said that a total of 20 potential PPP candidates had submitted nomination papers with returning officers, but the party had yet to announce the final candidates. He said that the PPP did not approach the ruling PML-N for seat adjustment because party workers were opposed to the idea and fed up of their regressive approach to administration.