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Sirajul Haq kicked up a storm by accusing PTI of voting for Senate chairman on ‘order from the top’.
Sirajul Haq kicked up a storm by accusing PTI of voting for Senate chairman on ‘order from the top’.

ISLAMABAD: Angry over remarks of Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq questioning the credibility of last month’s election of the Senate chairman, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has indirectly suggested to the JI to better part ways with the coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa if it sees any negative role of the PTI in the Senate polls.

“I am surprised as to why the JI has not yet quit the PTI-led KP government,” said PTI information secretary Fawad Chaudhry in a statement issued here on Sunday in response to the JI chief’s recent claim that the PTI had voted for Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani following an “order from the top”.

On the other hand, the JI says the two parties have been working together in the KP government for five years and the party cannot end this long-time association abruptly in reaction to an “emotional reaction” of the PTI information secretary.

Mr Chaudhry regretted that on one hand, the JI had filed the petition in the Panama Papers case in the Supreme Court against Nawaz Sharif and, on the other hand, it became an ally of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in the election of the Senate chairman and deputy chairman. He alleged that the JI’s politics was based on “hypocrisy”.

War of words between allies intensifies over Senate polls

“The JI has so much love for the government that it is not ready to come out of the PTI-led coalition in KP,” the PTI leader said, terming the allegations of Mr Haq against his party “baseless”.

When contacted, JI secretary general Liaquat Baloch endorsed the viewpoint of his party chief, stating that whatever Mr Haq had said about the Senate elections was based on “facts”.

Mr Baloch said the PTI’s reaction to Mr Haq’s remarks was incomprehensible for him as Imran Khan had himself issued show-cause notices to 20 party MPAs for selling their votes in the Senate elections, thus proving that whatever Mr Haq had said was true.

Mr Baloch was of the view that Fawad Chaudhry had issued the statement without prior approval of the party leadership. He expressed the hope that the PTI leadership would take notice of the statement and would not endorse it.

Talking to the media at Mansoora last week, Senator Sirajul Haq had disclosed that KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak had called him some days before the Senate chairman’s election and sought JI votes for their nominee.

The JI chief claimed that when he asked about the name of the nominee, CM Khattak feigned ignorance, saying he was also not aware of the name yet because the decision was coming from the top and the only thing he knew was that the nominee was from Balochistan. The JI chief then hastened to add that he did not understand what Mr Khattak meant by “from the top” — whether it was from heaven or somebody else.

The PTI’s reaction to the JI chief’s comments came a day after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif challenged PTI chief Imran Khan to identify those who had “ordered him to vote” for the candidates of the two Senate offices and explain his motives.

Talking to reporters in London on Saturday, Mr Sharif, while referring to the JI chief’s statement, had stated that the PTI chief by voting for the Pakistan Peoples Party candidate in the Senate polls proved that he and other political parties had always been “looking for the umpire’s finger” and “orders from the top”.

The PML-N supreme leader said the way the Balochistan Assembly was “rigged and his party taken over” and then in the manner the Senate elections were held, the Senate chairman and deputy chairman stood discredited, especially after PTI’s confession of horse-trading.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2018