LAHORE: The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) has announced support for Jahangir Tareen, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidate in the by-election for NA-154, Lodhran, scheduled to be held on Dec 23.

The announcement was made by the PTI’s Punjab organiser Chaudhry Sarwar and JI Secretary General Liaquat Baloch at a press conference after a meeting at the Jamaat’s headquarters in Mansoora here on Saturday.

It is learnt that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak and Mr Tareen had earlier contacted the JI leadership to seek their support.

A PTI delegation — led by Mr Sarwar and comprising Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed, the party’s deputy organiser in Punjab Umar Sarfraz Cheema and the party chairman’s adviser Abdul Aleem Khan — during the meeting with Mr Baloch and Punjab JI chief Mian Maqsood Ahmad also discussed electoral reforms, method to eradicate corruption and mutual cooperation on the issues.

Mr Sarwar and Mr Baloch told the press conference that during the meeting the two sides had reaffirmed their resolve to jointly struggle to strengthen opposition to prevent the government from taking arbitrary decisions. They also agreed on urgent need for electoral reforms that had not been introduced despite recommendations given by the parliamentary committee concerned and making the “toothless” Election Commission of Pakistan an independent institution.

Mr Sarwar thanked the JI leadership for supporting Mr Tareen in the by-election and said that struggle by the two parties would lead to introduction of electoral reforms and an effective mechanism to end corruption.

In KP, Mr Sarwar claimed, the PTI government had de-politicised public institutions and even the chief minister could not meddle into affairs of the institutions.

Mr Baloch confirmed his party’s support for the PTI candidate in the by-election but said they had told the PTI delegation that Mr Tareen and his party’s Lodhran-based leaders should personally contact Dr Syed Waseem Akhtar, JI member of Punjab Assembly, and the Lodhran district chief of the party, to garner support.

He accused the government of hampering implementation of the National Action Plan to counter terrorism “because it wants terrorism to sustain for political motives”.

The PTI and JI leaders called for giving “full powers” to Rangers to curb terrorism and corruption in Karachi.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2015