ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Monday accused the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of being “deeply involved” in horse-trading along with the Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazal (JUI-F). The statement came after Imran's conversation with PPP Co-Chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari to end horse-trading in Senate polls.
According to a PTI press release, Imran stated today he had spoken with Zardari on a one-point agenda: to bring an end to horse-trading in the Senate elections.
Know more: All eyes on Zardari as Senate elections loom
Imran also claimed that his efforts to persuade Zardari to oppose horse-trading have failed. He further claimed that PPP remains opposed to open balloting because it is deeply involved in horse trading along with JUI-F.
Given the bitter rivalry between the PPP and the PTI in recent months, political observers had been viewing the telephonic conversation between Mr Zardari and Imran as a “significant political development”.
However, Imran's fresh statement indicates that talks between the leaders hit a dead-end.
Imran added that PTI would in no way support either PPP or PML-N in “undemocratic, corrupt designs” for the Senate. Instead he himself would lead PTI's efforts to ensure a clean Senate election in KP and expose the horse-trading currently taking place.
He further maintained that his party will never make a 'deal' with any political party with regards to Senate polls, adding that PTI will now fight the Senate elections with a renewed commitment to expose and defeat those trying to buy their way into the Senate.
An earlier statement issued by PTI Information Secretary Dr Shireen Mazari regarding Mr Khan’s conversation with the PPP co-chairperson had created confusion in political circles.
“Asif Zardari called Imran Khan after agreement between (KP Chief Minister) Pervez Khattak and PPP on cooperation in Senate. Pervez Khattak will issue a detailed statement tomorrow (Monday),” a text message quoting Dr Mazari was circulated by the PTI press office on Sunday night.
Later however, Dr Mazari clarified that there had been no “understanding” or seat adjustment with the PPP and the “agreement” mentioned was on the 22nd amendment. She said all these developments had taken place after a PPP delegation, headed by former interior minister Rehman Malik, had called on the KP chief minister.
She claimed that Imran had actually asked Mr Zardari to support the proposed amendment allowing open balloting in the Senate polls. She said Mr Khan had told the PPP leader that such an amendment would strengthen democracy and democratic norms in the country.
On the other hand, Mr Zardari’s spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar claimed that Mr Zardari was returning the PTI chief’s call, which he had been unable to receive. “It really doesn't matter who made the call. This shows that all parties are equally concerned over the practice of the use of money in the Senate elections and want to discourage such practices,” he said, adding however, that the PPP was not ready to support the idea of open ballots for the Senate.