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PESHAWAR: The Jamaat-i-Islami, a partner of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led coalition in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has hinted at joining the opposition’s camp for the upcoming Senate elections in the province.

JI provincial chief Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, who is also a Senate candidate, told Dawn that his party would join hands with the opposition parties in the KP Assembly for the polls to be held on March 3.

He said the decision was taken after the JI attended the meeting of the parliamentary leaders of five opposition parties.

Provincial chief says JI won’t make electoral alliance with PTI

“We have decided to join the opposition side instead making an electoral alliance with the PTI in the Senate polls,” he said, adding that efforts were still under way to bring all parties in the assembly on one page to avoid horse-trading.

The parliamentary leaders of five opposition parties in the province, including Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Awami National Party, Qaumi Watan Party and Pakistan People’s Party, met on Tuesday night to work out a joint strategy for the Senate polls.

The meeting was held in the chamber of opposition leader Maulana Lutfur Rehman, where senior minister and JI parliamentary leader Inayatullah Khan was also in attendance.

PML-N parliamentary leader Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha confirmed that the JI had agreed in principle to go with the opposition parties in the polls.

He said the opposition would try to win six seats from the province in the Senate polls.

Mr Nalotha said parliamentary leaders of the opposition parties would meet next week to finalise the deal in that respect.

The PTI, which has already lost several MPAs, is likely to lose the support of seven more lawmakers if the Jamaat strikes final deal with the opposition parties.

The PTI had expelled numbers of its MPAs over the violation of its discipline.

MPAs Qurban Ali Khan and Javed Nasim, who were elected on the PTI tickets from Nowshera and Peshawar respectively, told Dawn that they were not bound to vote for the party’s candidates in the Senate polls.

“First the party leadership should tender apology and then I will think about supporting its candidates in the polls,” said Qurban Ali Khan, who claimed that he was punished for showing loyalty to the PTI’s ideology and manifesto.

According to the final lists issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan, the PTI have eight candidates in the province.

PTI chairman Imran Khan had stated that the party would get its six candidates elected for the Senate from KP.

Also, the party has also announced support for chief of his own JUI faction Maulana Samiul Haq, who is contesting for the technocrat seat.

Two MPAs, who recently joined the PTI, became proposer and seconder of Maulana Sami.

Azam Khan Swati is the PTI’s candidate for the technocrat seat.

The PTI will have to get two candidates, including Maulana Sami and Azam Swati, elected on the technocrat seats.

Maulana Sami had withdrawn his nomination papers against the general seat.

He instead of joining the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, a grouping of religio-political parties, has preferred to form electoral alliance with the PTI.

Sources claimed that the JUI-S had demanded of the PTI to award a Senate ticket for Maulana Sami and at least two National Assembly tickets for the upcoming general elections.

However, JUI-S information secretary Maulana Yousaf Shah rejected the claim as rumour.

A total of 14 candidates are contesting Senate elections for seven general seats, five for two technocrat seats and eight for two seats reserved for women.

The names of PTI candidates for the general category are Faisal Javed, Fida Mohammad, Mohammad Ayub Afridi, Khail Zaman and Abdul Latif Yousafzai.

Dr Meher Taj Roghani and Naureen Farooq Khan are the PTI’s candidate for women seat and Azam Swati for the technocrat seat.

Mushtaq Ahmad Khan of the JI, Masood Abbas Khattak of the ANP, Syed Mohammad Sabir Shah and Ali Afzal Khan Jadoon of the PML-N, Bahramand Khan and Faisal Sakhi Butt of the PPP, Mohammad Gufran of the QWP and Gul Naseeb Khan and Mohammed Talha Mehmood of the JUI-F are candidates for the general category.

Dilawar Khan of the PML-N, Azam Khan Swati of the PTI, Mohammad Yaqoob Shaikh of the JUI-F, Maulana Samiul Haq and Nisar Khan are contesting elections for the technocrat seats.

Shagufta Malik of the ANP, Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli of the QWP, Sobia Shahid and Raeesa Daud of the PML-N, Rubina Khalid of the PPP, Dr Meher Taj Roghani and Naureen Farooq Khan of the PTI and Naeema Kishwar Khan of the JUI-F are in the running for the women’s seats.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2018