ISLAMABAD  -  Joint Opposition huddle to decide on the consensus candidate from opposition parties for presidential elections on September 4 will be held today (Saturday) under the chair of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz at Murree.

Leadership of opposition parties including Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Pakhtunkhawa Milli Awami Party and Awami National Party have confirmed their participation in the meeting which would mainly focus on finalising joint candidate for presidential elections.

The PPP had already announced Ch Aitzaz Ahsan for the coveted slot which was rejected outright by the main opposition party, the PML-N, which wanted Aitzaz to apologise from Nawaz Sharif for his adverse remarks against him for his consideration for the post by the PML-N. While on the other hand, the PPP leadership was firm on candidature of Aitzaz Ahan and would press other opposition parties to accept his candidature for the top parliamentary position.

The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal ? an alliance of five religious parties ? is ready to participate in the APC tomorrow, a party spokesperson said, adding that the delegation would comprise MMA and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, JUI-F Secretary General Liaquat Baloch, and Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan-Noorani's (JUP-N) Shah Awais Noorani.

The spokesperson said the MMA would participate enthusiastically in the 11-party grand opposition alliance's consultative meeting.

"The presidential candidate will be discussed in the meeting," Noorani said. The spokesperson added that the participants of the meeting would also exchange views on how to play the role of an effective opposition, and would chalk out a protest strategy against alleged rigging in the July 25 polls.

MMA's secretary general Liaquat Baloch said the MMA would hold a meeting on Aug 26 to discuss developments in the APC. MMA leaders would push both main parties to agree on fielding a joint candidate from opposition parties to give tough time to the government.

On the other hand, PkMAP chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai would not be attending the moot owing to his engagements in Quetta and would be coming to the federal capital on Sunday but he had held telephonic conversation over the issue with leaders of the joint opposition and would also want to see both PPP and PML-N land on same page.

The PPP has also accepted the PML-N's invitation, senior leader Khursheed Shah confirmed. Shah will be leading the PPP delegation. He is expected to place the PPP's stance before all parties and brief party leaders on the decisions made in the Murree moot.

A PPP source was quoted as saying that Shah had intensified contacts with other parties ? including the PML-N ? in order to garner support for his party's candidate for president, Aitzaz. The source said Shah would try to convince the APC attendees tomorrow to support Ahsan as the joint presidential candidate.

The PML-N are not keen on supporting Ahsan, claiming that the PPP had not consulted any of the parties sitting on the opposition benches before making the decision. However, tensions surfaced between the PPP and PML-N after the former refused to vote for PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif in the Aug 17 election for the office of prime minister due to his controversial statements against the PPP leadership in the past.

The PPP's nominee, Ahsan, has also made some unbecoming remarks about the illness of Nawaz Sharif's wife Kulsoom Nawaz in the recent past.