PESHAWAR, May 15: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) has given up efforts to form coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and nominated former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani its parliamentary leader in the provincial assembly.

Addressing a joint press conference here on Wednesday, JUI-F provincial chief Maulana Amanullah and senior vice-president Attaur Rehman, said that MPA-elect Maulana Lutfur Rehman, younger brother of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, would be the party’s deputy parliamentary leader.

These decisions were announced after a meeting of the provincial executive council, which was presided over by Maulana Amanullah. They said that parliamentary party meeting would be held in Peshawar on May 29. Both MNAs and MPAs-elect would attend the meeting and the party would chalk out its future line of action.

The JUI-F, which won 13 seats in the provincial assembly, was trying to form coalition government in the province comprising Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Quami Watan Party, Jamaat-i-Islami and independents.

However, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif’s statement in which he accepted PTI’s mandate in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa shattered the JUI-F dreams to set up coalition government. Attaur Rehman said that their party was ready to sit on opposition benches in the provincial assembly and play its due role.

Insiders said that Mr Durrani who won two seats from Bannu, including one National Assembly and one provincial assembly, might retain the NA seat and then Lutfur Rehman would be the parliamentary leader in the provincial assembly. Maulana Fazl himself won three NA seats in elections.

The party executive council also decided to observe province-wide strike on May 17 against alleged rigging in elections. Protest rallies would be taken out in all districts.

Attaur Rehman held “hidden forces” responsible for rigging in polls and said that the Election Commission of Pakistan was reluctant to order re-polling in some constituencies.

He demanded of the ECP to order re-polling in NA-40, North Waziristan Agency and NA-41, Frontier Regions (Fata).

He alleged that armed men had kidnapped polling agents of political parties from NA-40. He said that ballot papers had been recovered from fields and asked the ECP and caretaker governments to acknowledge their failure.

When asked to disclose “hidden forces”, Attaur Rehman said: “Everybody knows it and there is no need for explanation.” He said that if Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf could show majority in the assembly then it had the right to form government in KP.

He said that all major parties, including JI, PTI, PML-N, Muttahida Quami Movement and some regional parties, had launched countrywide protests against rigging.

He said that the JUI-F was considering Pakistan People’s Party and Awami National Party as its competitors in the elections, but PTI emerged out of nowhere. He urged the ECP to order re-polling and recounting in some constituencies.

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