ISLAMABAD - Chief of his own faction of Balochistan National Party, Sardar Akhtar Mengal, on Saturday said tacit ‘no’ to Pakistan People’s Party delegation as they visited him in Parliament Lodges for securing his party’s support for Ch Aitzaz Ahsan in presidential elections.

However, in a media interaction after the meeting, Mengal said that like the PPP, other parties’ had also approached him for support to their candidates for the slot of the president and they would place the matter before central leadership of the party for decision.

After the July 25 general election, Mengal had conditionally joined the ruling alliance and refused to take any ministerial slot for the party but demanded implementation on demands regarding securing rights for the people of Balochistan.

Sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting revealed that Mengal told the PPP delegation that being part of the ruling alliance, his party was committed to vote for the government-backed candidate in the presidential elections. However, he agreed to place the request of PPP before the party’s central leadership for consideration.

In his brief media chat, the PPP candidate for the slot of the president, Ch Aitzaz Ahsan, said that they had presented their case to Akhtar Mengal who patiently heard their submission and assured them that he would discuss the matter in his party’s meeting.

Aitzaz said that Mengal had also discussed with them issues relating to Balochistan; the issue of missing persons and overall deprivation of the people of his province.

He said that the PPP fully supported the case of the BNP-Mengal and said that they would fully support all genuine demands of the BNP-Mengal regarding missing persons and other issues faced by the people of Balochistan.

To a question, Ch Aitzaz Ahsan sounded optimistic about breakthrough with Maulana Fazlur Rehman before the September 4 presidential elections. He termed the Maulana a veteran politician and hoped that he would understand their point of view and withdraw in favour of the PPP-backed candidate.

To another question, he said that the Maulana and the parties backing his candidature wanted the PPP to withdraw in his favour whereas they wanted him to step down. He further said that both sides were in constant touch and hoped that they would land at same page ahead of the elections.

Aitzaz added that they would try to persuade Maulana Fazl to withdraw from the race for the office of the country’s president in their favour.

The ruling coalition leader, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has fielded Dr Arif Alvi as their candidate in the run for presidency.

Fazl not to withdraw from race

Monitoring Desk adds: Refusing to withdraw from the presidential run, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Fazlur Rehman explained that all parties in the grand anti-PTI alliance support him except Pakistan Peoples Party.

The decision to withdraw Aitzaz Ahsan’s nomination has to be done by only one party [PPP] while 10 parties will have to consent for his nomination withdrawal, Fazl told a private TV channel on Saturday.

Fazl was responding to PPP’s requests to him to withdraw in favour of its candidate, Ahsan, after the opposition failed to field a joint candidate against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Arif Alvi. Fazl cautioned against sneer comments against him, which mocked him for taking up the opportunity himself when he was supposed to mediate between the two main opposition parties, PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

Aitzaz Ahsan is the one whom no one is agreeing upon, he said, adding that there should be consensus on the nominee agreed upon by all opposition parties.

The grand opposition had agreed to field a joint candidate for the presidential election, scheduled to take place on September 4, but differences emerged soon after. PML-N refused to support Ahsan and asked PPP to field Yousuf Raza Gilani instead.

The PPP, however, continues to stick with its original decision. Fazl, who was reportedly trying to get the both parties to agree on a joint candidate, was eventually nominated by the opposition except PPP.