ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) sees “no contest” with any political party in the coming general elections, predicting that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will have become a “non-entity” by that time.
“Let’s see what happens with the PML-N. Whether it remains intact or becomes a non-entity like the MQM led by Altaf Hussain,” commented PTI information secretary Fawad Chaudhry while briefing reporters about the decisions made by the party in separate meetings of senior leaders and parliamentary board from Punjab at the Banigala residence of PTI chief Imran Khan on Saturday.
“We don’t know if we will be competing with the PML-N or its factions in the elections,” Mr Chaudhry maintained.
Mushahidullah says PML-N will ‘sweep’ elections; Kaira rules out seat adjustment with PTI
In reply to a question, he ruled out the possibility of having any alliance in Punjab with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). “It’s better to commit political suicide than to make a seat adjustment with the PPP in Punjab. The PPP doesn’t even have candidates,” said Mr Chaudhry.
He was of the view that the PTI would be facing different opposition in different constituencies as they were facing no threat from any party.
He said the PML-N was unravelling and more people would join the PTI in the coming days.
Responding to another question, Mr Chaudhry said: “The politics of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz has already finished”. He declared that Maryam Nawaz had come to the political arena “accidentally” as the two sons of Nawaz Sharif were only busy handling the money that had been “accumulated” by their father.
The PTI leader said that Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari were two sides of the same coin. He recalled that the PML-N had even joined hands with military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf when it was in their interest and recalled how the PML-N ministers had taken the oath from the military dictator after the 2008 elections.
Mr Chaudhry denied that the PTI had entered into any kind of understanding with the PPP in the recent elections of the Senate chairman. He claimed that they had not even held negotiations with the PPP as all the issues were being dealt by the senators from Balochistan.
“We only voted for the Balochistan Panel,” he said when asked why his party had voted for PPP’s nominee Salim Mandviwalla for the office of the Senate deputy chairman.
The PTI leader claimed that his party had finalised names for the caretaker set-up which would be made public after consultations with other parties.
He said the party had fixed May 4 as the last date for receiving the applications after which the parliamentary boards would finalise the candidates. He said that the April 29 public meeting in Lahore would mark the beginning of the party’s national campaign for the elections.
PML-N’s information secretary Senator Mushahidullah Khan ridiculed the PTI’s claim, saying that “there is no competition between the leaders who address millions of people and those who address empty chairs”.
Mr Khan said there was no competition between the two parties and “the PML-N will sweep the next elections and surety bonds of their rivals will be confiscated even in south Punjab”. He declared the PTI “anti-democratic party”, saying the people knew its real motives.
When contacted, president of the PPP’s Central Punjab Qamar Zaman Kaira expressed his annoyance over media for repeatedly asking the question about the possibility of the PPP-PTI alliance despite the fact the two parties had been categorically ruling out its possibility.
“When have we made any request with PTI for a seat adjustment?” he asked, adding that he had a genuine complaint with the media that they kept on asking such “irritating” questions only to make sensational news and “perhaps to ridicule and insult us”.
When asked why the two parties had joined hands in the recent Senate chairman elections, Mr Kaira said they had opted for a “lesser damage”, explaining that had they joined hands with the PML-N in getting Raza Rabbani elected as the Senate chairman, the party would have been facing criticism and allegations of ‘muk muka’ (deal) with the Sharifs.
Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2018