22 August, 2014 / Shawwal 25, 1435

PESHAWAR, May 22: The opposition parties in the next Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly have yet to decide whether to field joint candidates against the Pakistan Tehrik Insaf-led coalition’s nominees for the top three posts of the chief minister, the speaker and the deputy speaker, or leave the field open.

The opposition seems in disarray, while the PTI-led coalition members are actively engaged in negotiations to form the government.

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which emerged as the second largest parties after PTI by bagging 13 and 12 seats respectively in the May 11 elections, are engaged in negotiations for finalising power-sharing formula in the centre, did not pay attention to the political necessities in the province.

JUI-F parliamentary leader-designate in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Akram Khan Durrani said his party, PML-N and other smaller groups did not hold formal deliberations on fielding joint candidates for the top three prized posts of the speaker, deputy speaker and leader of the House.

He said political discourse in the province, including nomination of joint candidates by opposition parties for the top positions, was also on the agenda being discussed with PML-N’s four-member committee meeting held in Islamabad on Wednesday.Mr Durrani said other political parties, including Pakistan People’s Party and Awami National Party, would be taken into confidence after finalising deal with PML-N.

Both ANP and PPP have secured four and three seats in the assembly, respectively.

The JUI-F leader said political scenario in the province had been discussed with the PML-N, ANP, PPP leaders and eight independent MPAs-elect, who formed their own parliamentary group, United Front, but the decision about fielding unanimous candidates for the top positions was awaited.

PTI has nominated Pervez Khattak for the office of the chief minister and Asad Qaisar for the slot of speaker, while office of the deputy speaker is likely to be given to Qaumi Watan Party.

Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan Abbasi, who will be PML-N parliamentary leader in KP Assembly, told Dawn that fielding candidates against the coalition partners’ nominees for key posts would depend upon the attitude of the majority party in the province.

“We can’t say at this time whether to bring candidates or not, but opposition will wait for the government’s attitude. If we find it positive, then speaker, deputy speaker and leader of the house can be elected unanimously,” he said.

PTI nominee for the office of speaker Asad Qaisar is optimistic that political leadership will uphold its previous traditions and important posts will be elected unanimously.

Interestingly, former chief minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, outgoing speaker Kiramatullah Khan Chagharmatti and former deputy speaker Khushdil Khan were elected unopposed.

Asad Qaisar said PTI would start contacting leaders of opposition parties from Thursday and persuade them not to field candidates for the key assembly positions.

He said he had called Akram Durrani on Tuesday, discussed current political situation and sought his cooperation.

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