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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Changing loyalties: Lashkari Raisani sets eyes on PML-N – with conditions

Changing loyalties: Lashkari Raisani sets eyes on PML-N – with conditions

File photo of former PPP leader Lashkari Raisani, who resigned from the party in 2010 and Senate in 2012. PHOTO: FILE
Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani has emerged from 10 months of virtual isolation to say that he is seriously considering joining the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz .
The former president of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in Balochistan expressed these views right after a meeting with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif on Monday. However, he did not provide any details of their discussion.
“I am seriously of the mind to join his party,” Raisani briefly remarked. “You will soon find out when I will take a final decision.” These developments come three weeks before the government wraps up its tenure and a caretaker set-up is installed.
However, a political aide said that Raisani had discussed with Nawaz Sharif a few conditions to joining the country’s largest opposition party. “He received an encouraging response from the PML-N leader. Now Raisani is waiting for a reply,” said his aide. “There are some technical issues that Raisani wants to resolve before taking a decision,” he said when asked about the conditions.
The former senior leader of the ruling party in Balochistan had resigned from party office after he developed differences with a few federal ministers in 2010. He continued to be a part of the PPP till he resigned from the Senate in 2012.
Many political leaders, including Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, made him offers but he remained indecisive throughout, his aide told The Express Tribune. Raisani developed considerable clout in the province as the brother of the former chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani and in his own right as a PPP leader there.
He refused to rejoin the PPP despite intense efforts by the party’s leadership and consequently moved to Karachi from Quetta where he had lived for over 10 months in isolation.
Of late, Raisani has been issuing harsh-worded statements to the media, criticising the PPP’s high command for what he had described as unprecedented financial corruption and bad governance in Islamabad and Balochistan.
However, his major concern was the fate of the Reko Diq gold and copper mines. He suspected a few high-ups were attempting to lease them to some foreign companies.
Raisani has been a bitter critic of Islamabad’s policies on handling the Balochistan violence and had advocated a negotiated settlement. He took a radical stand on the enforced disappearances in the province, pointing fingers at the establishment and security agencies in public statements.