Imran likely to make changes to list of candidates for Senate elections

Published February 16, 2021
In this file photo, Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks alongside his aides and ministers. — DawnNewsTV/File
In this file photo, Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks alongside his aides and ministers. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: Due to internal rifts in the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) over nomination of candidates for the upcoming Senate elections, Prime Minister Imran Khan is said to be in a fix and expected to make some changes to the list of party candidates.

In order to resolve grievances of the party leaders and finalise the list of candidates, the prime minister has called a parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday.

According to a list of candidates issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), 56 PTI candidates have filed their nomination papers for 21 expected seats of the ruling party. It means that 36 covering candidates have submitted their nomination papers and now it is up to the prime minister to distribute party tickets to those he deems fit for contesting the Senate elections.

An insider told Dawn that members of the parliamentary board had expressed reservations over nomination of Minster for Water Resources Faisal Vawda for the Senate elections. However, he said despite opposition within the party, the prime minister will not remove him from the list of candidates.

Calls parliamentary party meeting today

Meanwhile, annoyed PTI members in Sindh met Governor Imran Ismail and conveyed their reservations to him in black and white.

Two other PTI candidates, Faisal Salem and Saifullah Abro, are also under fire due to internal party rifts.

In a private TV show, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, who is also a member of the PTI parliamentary board, said those who were against Mr Vawda’s nomination were justified in opposing him as Mr Vawda was already holding a National Assembly seat.

“But Mr Vawda is facing a (dual nationality) case in the ECP and it is feared that the decision can come against him,” he added.

Once Mr Vawda is declared guilty in the case, he may not be able to qualify for the Senate seat.

After withdrawal of nomination by the PTI, Abdul Qadir from Balochistan has filed his papers as an independent candidate. The PTI nominated another party man, Zahoor Agha, from Balochistan.

Hailing from Quetta, Mr Qadir is said to be in a position to win the polls. However, media reports said Mr Agha’s basic party membership had been suspended for staging a sit-in at Banigala.

Later, speaking at a meeting, Prime Minister Khan said he would give party tickets for Senate elections on merit and that “no parashooter” would be allowed to become a senator.

Meanwhile, the prime minister met some disgruntled MNAs belonging to the PTI from KP. The MNAs included Junaid Akbar, Noor Alam Khan, Atif Khan, Arbab Amir Ayub, Sher Ali Arbab and Shaukat Ali. They discussed the overall political situation and matters relating to their respective constituencies.

Technology promotion

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting on the use of technology in promotion of skilled education.

The meeting was attended among others by Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood and Chief Scientific Adviser Prof Dr Attaur Rehman.

The education minister apprised the meeting of reforms, online education during Covid-19, pilot projects for IT, countrywide ‘skills for all’ projects and measures taken for promotion of knowledge economy.

The meeting was informed that after a lapse of 11 years, the PTI government was formulating Pakistan Education Policy 2021 for unified curriculum. Special emphasis is being laid on technical and advanced education.

Dr Rehman informed the meeting that partnership with international organisations was underway for accreditation, capacity building of teachers, enhanced use of artificial intelligence and biotechnology.

The prime minister observed that education was not accorded due priority in the past. He said the majority of population consisted of youth and their capabilities can only be utilised if they are educated and equipped with latest knowledge and technology.

The prime minister directed that the proposed education policy be expedited along with formulation of a comprehensive roadmap with delineated timelines and targets in consultation with provincial governments and stakeholders to cater to the priorities for implementing modern education system in the country.

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2021

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