PESHAWAR: The opposition Pakistan Peoples Party on Monday announced the withdrawal of its candidate, Liaquat Shabab, from the Feb 19 by-election in PK-63 constituency of Nowshera district in favour of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz nominee Ikhtiar Wali Khan.

The PK-63 seat had fallen vacant after the death of MPA Mian Jamsheduddin Kakakhel of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) candidate Mufti Hakim Ali Haqqani has already announced support for the PML-N candidate in the by-election.

PPP central general secretary Faisal Karim Kundi announced his party’s support for Ikhtiar Wali Khan during a joint news conference with PML-N provincial president Amir Muqam at the PPP Secretariat here.

Candidate Ikhtiar Wali has already been supported by JUI-F

PPP candidate Liaquat Shabab and other party office-bearers, including provincial senior vice-president Syed Ayub Shah and provincial deputy information secretary Gohar Khan Inqilabi were also present.

Mr Kundi said his party had taken the decision to show that the opposition parties were united to defeat the candidate of the ruling party.

He said it was time that the opposition parties join hands to rid the nation of the ‘incompetent’ government.

The PPP leader said keeping in view the growing prices of essential commodities and unemployment rate, there was no room for tolerating the rulers any longer.

“We will extend full support to the PML-N candidate during his campaign and would not allow anyone to manipulate the polls like those of 2018,” he said.

Mr Kundi said the current rulers had put the country’s honour and dignity at stake and that Pakistan faced isolation due to the wrong foreign and domestic policies of the government.

He said the PTI had come to power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the second time but had failed to raise voice for the province’s rights.

The PPP leader said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa produced surplus natural gas and power but even then, its residents were subjected to the prolonged loadshedding.

He accused the government of influencing the National Accountability Bureau against the opposition parties and said no action was taken against the members of the ruling party facing multiple corruption charges.

PML-N leader Amir Muqam expressed the hope that his party’s candidate would emerge successful due to the support of other opposition parties.

He said it was the right time for everyone to join hands and rid the nation of the inefficient government.

The PML-N leader said Prime Minister Imran Khan was in the habit of using derogatory language against his political rivals without any proof of misappropriation.

“Had Imran any ability, he would have controlled the prices of essential items, which have made the people’s life extremely miserable,” he said.

Mr Muqam said the power and gas tariffs had been increased after short intervals causing serious unrest among people and investors.

He alleged that corruption was ‘very common’ in government departments but Premier Imran Khan was unable to take action against the culpable people.

“We will hold a protest demonstration outside the Election Commission of Pakistan offices in Islamabad today (Tuesday) over delaying tactics for decision in the foreign funding case,” he said. The PML-N leader claimed that the government’s days had been numbered.

He said the opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement won’t succumb to any pressure to continue the struggle for the early ouster of the PTI government. PPP candidate Liaquat Shabab also shared views on the occasion.

Ikhtiar Wali expressed the hope that the other opposition parties would also support him.

He said the PML-N had extended full support to the Awami National Party candidates in six constituencies in past.

“We will also request the ANP, Jamaat-i-Islami and Qaumi Watan party to support me,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2021

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