PESHAWAR, March 23: Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, president and MNA Amir Muqam has changed his mind about joining Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf and will soon be part of Nawaz Sharif-headed faction of Muslim League, Dawn has learnt.
According to sources close to Mr Muqam, the PML-Q leader’s negotiations with PTI leadership had almost borne fruit when he gave in to the intense pressure of his party leaders in Swat, Kohistan and Mansehra for joining PML-N.
Noted in the anti-PTI group was former provincial minister Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha Lala of Swat, who quit PML-N two years ago to join PML-Q but reversed the move on Thursday against Mr Muqam’s plans to go in with Mr Imran.
It is learnt that more disgruntled PML-Q leaders are to join PML-N on March 27 without taking Mr Muqam into confidence.
“We always supported him (Mr Muqam) but he failed to take a decision and wasted time in consultations. That’s why we joined PML-N,” an activist in Swat said, adding that old Leaguers preferred PML-N to PTI.
He said former provincial minister Farid Toofan played a leading role in arranging a meeting between Mr Muqam and PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore of late. He said people of Shangla were loyal to Mr Muqam and would accept his decision whatever it was.
Insiders said Mr Muqam would be made PML-N president in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa if he proved his loyalty to the Sharifs within six months of joining them. PTI provincial president Asad Qaisar has already said his party rejects Mr Muqam’s ‘conditions’ for joining it as it will not let anyone set conditions for becoming its part.
Another central leader of PTI said negotiations between his leadership and Mr Muqam failed after the latter demanded a share in national and assembly tickets for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the next general elections. He said the demand was turned down by Mr Imran.
According to him, another reason for failure of talks was that PTI appointed Mr Asad its provincial president and offered the central vice president’s office to Mr Muqam to his disappointment.
“We can’t rope him in at the cost of our senior leaders,” he said.
When contacted, Amir Muqam, however, said he was still in contact with PTI leadership and that there was nothing final in politics.
“I have yet not taken any decision (about joining PML-N or PTI). The decision will be made after completion of ongoing consultations with colleagues,” he said. When asked about his meeting with Mr Shahbaz Sharif, he said meeting didn’t mean that he had joined PML-N and that everyone would know about my decision soon.
PML-N provincial general secretary Rehmat Salam Khattak told Dawn that Mr Muqam would soon join his party as its central vice president. He said some other PML-Q leaders had also assured his leadership of joining PML-N.
“Our party is very strong in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and will get stronger after some noted personalities join it shortly,” he said, adding that victory of PML-N candidate Nisar Khan of Malakand in the recent Senate elections demonstrated the party’s popularity in the province.
Mr Khattak said PTI was a bubble bound to burst soon and that it could cause no damage to PML-N.