PESHAWAR, April 10: The dissident workers of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), who have filed nomination papers as independent candidates, have decided to give tough time to the ticket holders of the party during the upcoming general elections, according to sources.
The insiders said that dissident workers were of the opinion that PPP failed to serve masses during its five-year government. Almost every candidate of PPP was facing problems and unable to run the election campaign, they added.
The candidates had assured PPP parliamentary board and provincial leadership at the time of distribution of tickets to remove internal differences but so far they failed to fulfil the promise as none of the dissident workers was ready to withdraw in favour of the party’s nominees, insiders said.
In Peshawar, PPP candidate Akbar Khan is facing a dissident worker Aziz Khan in PK-1 constituency while Anwar Khan has submitted papers against Syed Zahir Ali Shah for PK-2 as independent candidate. The situation in NA-I is also uncertain because the nomination papers of PPP candidate Zulfiqar Afghani have been rejected on the ground that he was an employee of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL). His appeal against rejection of papers has not been decided so far.
NA-I is considered an important constituency in the province and every party has focused its attention on it. Awami National Party leader Haji Ghulam Bilour, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and Jamaat-i-Islami candidate Shabir Ahmed Khan are among the runners for the seat. Sources said that many PPP workers were likely to vote for Imran Khan against ANP if Afghani was disqualified.
The PPP workers in Peshawar were confused as ticket for NA-I was first allotted to Azam Afridi but after protest of activist it was given to Mr Afghani. The move annoyed supporters of Mr Afridi.
Mr Afridi had applied for getting ticket for PK-4 Peshawar but the ticket was given to Kifayatullah Orakzai. PPP workers were of the view that the crisis was created owing to irresponsible decision of the parliamentary board.
Insiders said that PPP would allot ticket for NA-1 to Iqbal Mohmand if Mr Afghani stood disqualified. Mr Mohmand has already been announced as a candidate for PK-3.
Syed Ayub Shah of PPP had secured about 38,000 votes from the constituency in the previous elections but this time he did not apply for the ticket owing to protest by workers against the party’s former ministers for their indifferent attitude.
Similarly, PPP leader Arbab Alamgir is facing his party’s man Fakhr Alam as independent candidate in PK-5 constituency.
Insiders said that Iftikhar Jhagra was brought back from PTI to PPP and given ticket for PK-9 but a senior party leader Mohammad Sharif joined JUI-F in protest and likely to contest election from the same constituency, creating problems for Mr Jhagra.
PPP provincial secretary information Liaquat Shabab is also facing opposition from some senior PPP workers in PK-14 constituency while Qasim Qasab, a dissident, is determined to contest election against PPP provincial general secretary and former finance minister Mohammad Humayun Khan in Malakand.
Shakirullah, another candidate of PPP and son of former federal minister Najamuddin Khan, is also facing serious problems in PK-91 Dir constituency because it is the only seat in the province where former MPA has been ignored by the party.
A source in upper Dir said that many PPP workers would support PML-N candidate Mohammad Nisar Khan Wardag in the said constituency.
Former state minister Malik Azmat was given ticket for NA-34 Dir against the will of local workers but he has been disqualified and now Aurangzeb will be the party’s candidate in the area.
A former minister of PPP Dost Mohammad Khan of Swat has recently joined PML-N and got ticket for a provincial assembly seat. He is considered a strong candidate and can affect other PPP seats in the district. Former MNA Allauddin was given ticket for NA-30 but he is also facing a disqualification issue and another leader of the party Saleemur Rehman is contesting independently for the seat.
Many of the PPP dissidents said that they would support PTI.
PPP leaders including deputy information secretary Gohar Inqilabi and provincial president Anwar Saifullah Khan’s spokesperson Nighat Orakzai, when contacted, said that party leadership had devised plan to influence the independent candidates.
“We have formed four committees led by senior leaders Anwar Saifullah Khan for southern districts, Ahmed Hassan Khan for Malakand division, Shamroz Khan for Hazara and Syed Zahir Ali Shah for Peshawar division to resolve such issues,” said Mr Inqilabi.