ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is set to launch a contact campaign with his allies as the opposition parties get closer to challenge the government, official sources said.

Last day, Pakistan Muslim League- Quaid-e-Azam Chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, has proposed a grand alliance of the opposition parties against the government.

Earlier, the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf agreed to work as a combined opposition in the parliament to test the rulers.

In 2013, the PML-N contested the general elections against the PPP and the PTI. The party secured the qualified majority in the National Assembly, the Punjab Assembly and Balochistan Assembly. The PPP and the PTI did better in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and formed the provincial governments. PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif became the Prime Minister for an unprecedented third term.

There were widespread allegations on systematic vote rigging and favouritism eventually leading to an anti–government march by the PTI and the Pakistan Awami Tehrik that called for electoral reforms in 2014.

Prior to the elections, the PPP formed an alliance with PML-Q, while on the conservative side, the PML-N allied with PML (Functional) and Sunni Movement. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan led the centrist PTI, with the Shia Movement and Jamaat Islami.

Presently, the PML-N government is supported by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal, PML-F, Pakhtunkhwa Millai Awami Party and other smaller parties.

The PML-F has been in contact with rival PML-Q and former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League to form an alliance or a launch a unified Muslim League.

Some PML-F and JUI-F lawmakers believe the PML-N was not giving them due importance which could threaten the alliance if efforts were not made to improve the situation. The smaller coalition partners also have their own grievances.

Though, the PML-N does not need support of the allies to stay in power, it cannot afford to give them away to the opposition to strengthen the anti-government grouping.

After the PPP-PTI union in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s statement to form a grand opposition alliance irked the Prime Minister and his supporters.

Hussain said only a grand alliance of opposition parties could exert pressure on government to “keep it on the right track.”

He also raised finger at the growing friction between the federal and provincial governments. The PML-Q chief warned of dire consequences if the PML-N failed to improve ties with the Sindh and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments.

A close aide of Prime Minister Sharif told The Nation, he would be holding meetings with the leaders of the allied parties and assure them of cooperation to make sure they do not shift support to the rival parties.

“He is ready to lend an ear to the partners and solve their problems. The delay in cabinet expansion is one cause of distress for the allies,” he said.

The Prime Minister, he added, wanted his top men to get active and spoil the opposition’s growing strength against the government as a unit.

“An alliance of the opposition parties will never be in government’s favour so there will be efforts to keep them apart,” he maintained.

Another source said the government was trying to pacify the PPP so that it does not explode into a ‘real opposition.’

“The PPP has been sensible as compared to the PTI so there are background contacts to keep the things steady. The government will try to settle their grievances on the alleged targeting of the party leaders,” he said.

He said Sharif was equally ready to cooperate with the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in a bid to avoid confrontation.