ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Saturday accused each other of resorting to horse-trading in the Senate elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

As PTI chief Imran Khan questioned the victory of two PPP candidates in KP, the PPP put the same question to the PTI with respect to the victory of its lone candidate in Punjab.

“The Senate elections yet again witnessed shameful horse-trading where MPAs bought and sold their votes as the country witnessed this sale of their ‘elected’ people to highest bidder. This shows moral decline of our political class. In which Western democracy does such a sale happen?” wrote Imran Khan on his official page on Twitter.

“The horse-trading in the Senate elections allowed the PPP to win two seats in KP where they have only seven MPAs. This sort of electoral farce raises some serious ethical questions,” Mr Khan tweeted. He said the Senate elections had not only “devalued the Senate but the entire political class.”

“The money in play in Senate elections is a major reason why the public’s perception is strengthened that people come into politics to enrich themselves rather than serve the people,” he wrote. “That is why the PTI presented alternate election formats of either direct elections or elections on party Lists. We warned sale of votes would always exist otherwise. Sadly, the Electoral Reforms Committee rejected both these proposals as did the Committee of the Whole House of the Senate,” Mr Khan concluded.

Meanwhile, a reliable source in the PPP claimed that it was KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak who had approached the PPP’s provincial chapter for an understanding on a seat reserved for women.

However, this claim was rejected by the PTI. “This is unbelievable and seems to be a part of a conspiracy theory,” PTI information secretary Fawad Chaudhry said when his views were sought on the PPP leader’s claim.

On the other hand, responding to Imran Khan’s allegations against his party, the PPP’s Farhatullah Babar accused PTI’s Chaudhry Sarwar of using unethical means to win the seat in Punjab. “We negotiated with the parties (in KP) and secured their support. If we got two Senate seats with only seven MPAs, how did PTI win one seat in Punjab, when it could not?” said Mr Babar.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2018