PESHAWAR: The emergence of two brothers on the stage set for Senate polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has not only caused alarm bells in Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf but also among the leaders of Jamaat-i-Islami, its coalition partner in the provincial government.
Jamaat-i-Islami has already asked PTI leadership to form a panel of honest MPAs to get “secure votes” for its chief Sirajul Haq, who is in the run for a general seat in the Senate polls to be held March 5.
“We don’t want defeat of Sirajul Haq,” said a senior leader of Jamaat-i-Islami.
The eight members of JI in provincial assembly will cast 40 votes to PTI’s candidates for women, technocrat and minority seats in the Senate while it will need nine votes for general seat to get its chief elected to the Upper House of the Parliament.
“Although PTI doesn’t need JI’s votes and can easily win these seats,” said the JI leader. He said that they knew that PTI had honest and ideological MPAs, who couldn’t be tempted by money. “We have asked its leadership to make a panel of those people to vote for Sirajul Haq,” he added.
Sources say two affluent brothers from DI Khan will focus on disgruntled MPAs of the party for votes
Sources in PTI, however, say that there are “insecure votes” in their ranks, especially after the appearance of Waqar Ahmed Khan and Ammar Ahmed Khan, two wealthy brothers from Dera Ismail Khan, as candidates for Senate polls.
Ammar Ahmed Khan is contesting the polls with the support of Qaumi Watan Party, which has 10 members in the 124-member house. It means that he will need seven more votes to become a senator.
Waqar Ahmed Khan, an independent candidate, is known for winning seats through wheeling-dealing in the past. The situation has posed challenge for PTI to keep its status as principled party intact.
“This election is a test case for the future of PTI because some of MPAs are likely to slip away. If the PTI loses MPAs to other candidates, it will be a huge setback for it,” the JI leader said.
PTI chairman Imran Khan is also aware of the situation. “PTI chairman has already announced that those selling votes wouldn’t only be expelled from the party but the workers would be asked to lay siege to their homes,” a provincial minister said. He said that ideological MPAs would never bring bad name to the party because they knew the repercussions.
The minister said that Imran Khan would have a final meeting with the MPAs before Senate polls to make it categorically clear that those found selling votes would have to face the people in their constituencies.
Sources say that PTI has been grappling with internal differences, which can come to surface in the Senate polls. Many lawmakers are unhappy with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and have openly expressed their reservations in the past, they add. Allotment of Senate tickets further added to their heartburn, sources said. “Many MPAs say that selection of people for Senate election wasn’t appropriate,” they said. But Imran Khan could salvage the party by intervening, they added.
Sources said that it would be immense shame for PTI if its members voted for any of the two brothers, who would focus on the disgruntled MPAs of the party. However, names of those going against PTI’s nominated candidates in the Senate election would be kept hidden and they would have to face the party, sources said.
Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2015