PESHAWAR: The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is following in the footsteps of other mainstream political parties in terms of dynastic politics as its top leaders from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are likely to secure party tickets for their relatives to contest the upcoming by-elections for provincial assembly.

Family members of at least three senior PTI leaders have almost succeeded in securing party tickets for by-polls on seats vacated by them after the July 25 elections.

Defence minister Pervez Khattak, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and former KP minister Ali Amin Gandapur had vacated their provincial assembly seats and joined the NA.

Workers resent ‘dynastic politics’ in ruling party

As the PTI chief, Prime Minister Imran Khan has hardly spared any opportunity during his political career to lambast opponents for perpetuating dynastic politics.

However, his party itself has become a classical example of dynastic politics, which has been resented by workers.

By-elections will be held on Oct 14 for nine provincial and one National Assembly seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to the provincial Election Commission of Pakistan, there’re 155 candidates, including women.

By-elections will take place in NA-35 Bannu, PK-3 Swat-II, PK-7 Swat-VI, PK-44 Swabi-II, PK-53 Mardan-VI, PK-61 Nowshera-I, PK 64-Nowshera-IV, PK-78 Peshawar-XIII, PK-97 DI Khan-III and PK-99 DI Khan-V.

After the July 25 general elections, defence minister Pervez Khattak vacated two provincial seats he had won in Nowshera. His son, Ibrahim Khan, and brother, Liaquat Khan Khattak, are the likely candidates for PK-64 Nowshera-IV and PK-61 Nowshera-I, respectively.

Besides other PTI leaders, the two have filed nomination papers with the ECP to contest by-elections.

Liaquat Khattak was the district nazim before he resigned from the post to contest by-election.

Sources said Pervez Khattak, the former provincial chief minister, was considered to be among the most influential persons in PTI and so, he was most likely to get party tickets for son and brother easily.

Other lawmakers in the Pervez Khattak family include his son-in-law MNA Dr Imran Khattak, sister-in-law MNA Nafeesa Khattak, niece MNA Sajida Zulfiqar and nephew Nowshera tehsil nazim Ahad Khattak.

Faisal Ameen Gandapur, brother of MNA Ali Ameen Gandapur, is expected to contest by-elections in PK-97 DI Khan, sources said.

The seat was vacated by Ali Ameen Gandapur, who retained his National Assembly seat. His another brother, Umar Ameen Gandapur, is the tehsil nazim of DI Khan.

Similarly, Aqibullah, brother of NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, has filed the nomination papers with the ECP. He is mostly likely to be the PTI candidate for by-election in PK-44 Swabi-IV, whose seat was vacated by his brother.

There are four PTI lawmakers in the Tarakai family of Swabi, including local government minister Shahram Khan Tarakai, his father Senator Liaquat Khan Tarakai and two uncles including MNA Usman Khan Tarakai and MPA Mohammad Ali Khan Tarakai.

The PTI has three lawmakers from the Ayub family of Haripur, including MNA Umar Ayub and his two cousins MPAs Akbar Ayub and Arshad Ayub.

Akbar Ayub is the provincial communication and works minister. He had also held the same portfolio in the last Pervez Khattak cabinet after making it to the provincial assembly after the disqualification of his brother, Yousaf Ayub.

A diehard PTI worker from Swabi told Dawn that the party was no different from other mainstream political parties in term of awarding election tickets to rich leaders only.

“The PTI has been hijacked by the influential Tarakai and Asad Qaiser families in this district as only their family members are getting party tickets to contest elections,” he said.

The disgruntled worker said the genuine activists affiliated with the PTI for a long time were often ignored during election nominations.

Spokesman for the government Shaukat Yousafzai was not available for comments.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2018