Some in PTI vying for Senate tickets

Published January 17, 2015
File photo shows PTI leaders and Shaikh Rashid.—AFP/File
File photo shows PTI leaders and Shaikh Rashid.—AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: With Senate elections due in March, many in the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf — a party which just a couple of months ago, at the peak of its sit-in, was bent upon wrapping the entire system and refused to be part of parliament which it alleged had come into being as a result of rigged elections – are vying for tickets to become part of the same house.

But to take part in the Senate elections, PTI chief Imran Khan will have to drop yet another precondition which he had repeated on numerous occasions during his party’s 126-day sit-in at D-Chowk. Mr Khan said he would not sit in parliament unless the government agreed to constitute a judicial commission to investigate allegations of rigging in the 2013 general elections.

The party’s 34 members of the National Assembly have already submitted their resignations to the speaker, but he has yet to accept these.

Reliable sources in the party told Dawn that those having influence in the PTI were making their best efforts to persuade the chairman to take part in the Senate elections.

PTI’s senior leader Dr Arif Alvi, the only party member of the National Assembly from Sindh (Karachi), accepted the gravity of the situation. “To join the same parliament from which we have resigned is a serious issue which will be discussed at the party’s core committee meeting,” he said.

So far, according to him, the issue of Senate elections hasn’t figured in any of the core committee meetings, but surely the party leadership will take it up soon.

With the schedule for Senate elections is to be announced in the first week of February and the entire process completed within a month, the PTI hasn’t have much time on its hands.

Also read: PTI local chapter losing embittered members to PML-N

Another senior leader of the PTI told Dawn that a few in the party had already conveyed to Mr Khan their desire to contest the elections for the upper house of parliament.

According to a source, PTI General Secretary Jahangir Tareen, the chief of its Khyber Pakhtunkhwa wing, Azam Swati, and Punjab President Ijaz Chaudhry have emerged as top contenders to secure tickets. “Over the last couple of weeks, at least these three names are doing the rounds within the party,” the source said. During his visit to Peshawar on Wednesday, Imran Khan had sounded out the party’s provincial leadership about the suitability of these names for the Senate elections.

Know more: PTI to hold Islamabad rally on Jan 17

But Dr Alvi was of the opinion that it would be a tough call for the party to contest the Senate elections.

However, those in favour of contesting the elections argued that since the PTI had not resigned from the KP Assembly, there’s nothing wrong to have the first-ever representation in the Senate from the province.

The PTI has resigned from the Punjab and Sindh assemblies, while it has no representation in the Balochistan Assembly.

PROSPECTS: Half of the Senate’s 104 members will retire in March.

Considering PTI’s strength in the KP Assembly (46 members), where it’s heading the coalition government, the party has a fair chance to grab four to five seats in the Senate. In the Punjab Assembly, the PTI has 28 members and if it party takes back its decision on resignations, it has a chance to win one seat from the province.

Even if the party returns to the National Assembly, it has no chance to win two of the four Senate seats which will fall vacant for the federal capital. 

The National Assembly members constitute the electoral college for the Senate seats reserved for Islamabad, where the ruling PML-N has a clear majority.

“The issue is not of the number of seats in the Senate, but the PTI’s decision to participate in the elections,” said a party office-bearer.

The PTI chief first backed off from his chief demand for the prime minister’s resignation and after the Peshawar school carnage, it called off its sit-in at D-Chowk.

Imran Khan has convened a ‘Dharna convention’ on Sunday (Jan 18) in Islamabad, where he will announce his party’s next move if the government fails to constitute the judicial commission by then.

“The government’s response to our demand for judicial commission will determine the party’s future course of action. Of course, if the government refuses to address our concerns, we are left with no option but to embark upon collision course,” said a PTI MNA.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Opinion

Editorial

Police Lines bombing
Updated 31 Jan, 2023

Police Lines bombing

Where the menace of terrorism is concerned, the government and opposition need to close ranks and put up a united front.
Oil price hike
31 Jan, 2023

Oil price hike

THE record single-day increase in petrol prices, preceded by massive currency depreciation, signifies the ...
Babar Azam’s award
31 Jan, 2023

Babar Azam’s award

BABAR Azam might not have lifted many trophies as Pakistan’s all-format captain in the last year but the star...
Blatant Islamophobia
Updated 30 Jan, 2023

Blatant Islamophobia

Muslim extremists and terrorist outfits are emboldened by hateful acts.
Modern slavery
30 Jan, 2023

Modern slavery

MODERN slavery is a wide-ranging term that can encompass a multitude of scenarios. Common to all of them, however, ...
Remarkable Sania
30 Jan, 2023

Remarkable Sania

BRINGING to a close a career in which she smashed stereotypes, Sania Mirza delivered almost the perfect ending in ...