KARACHI: More than 30 disgruntled union committee (UC) chairmen belonging to the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), who had defied their party decision to vote for Jamaat-i-Islami candidate Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman in Karachi mayoral election in June, on Tuesday announced that they would ‘support’ the Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP) — the new home of most PTI ‘deserters’, which was launched in June by sugar baron Jahangir Khan Tareen.
The announcement came at the residence of former Sindh governor and founding leader of the IPP Imran Ismail who, along with his new party leaders and more than a dozen UC chairmen of PTI, addressed a press conference and described the decision as a beginning of a new chapter in Karachi politics on Tuesday.
The IPP leader termed the development significant in the run-up to the February 8 general elections in the metropolis and other parts of Sindh.
“These 32 UC chairmen were actually given tickets by us [estranged PTI leaders] and they all stood with the party for their ideology,” he said. “But what happened on May 9 forced everyone to rethink their loyalty. So their ideology is still there for peaceful and prosperous Pakistan, but they can’t stand with the party which is in direct conflict with national institutions.”
Ex-governor Imran Ismail says popularity alone can’t help win polls
He, however, didn’t come up with a clear answer to a question about any change in loyalty of these 34 UC chairmen in the City Council where in June they abstained from voting in favour of their party-backed JI candidate.
Responding to a question, he said the IPP would contest the general elections from Karachi with full force and saw the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) as the main rival in the Feb 8 polls.
He admitted that the PTI chairman was still the most popular leader of Pakistan but added that ‘popularity alone’ couldn’t help anyone win elections.
“No doubt that he’s [Imran Khan] still very popular leader. But being popular is other thing and favourite contestant in the polls is another. So I don’t think that despite this fact he and his party could do much in the upcoming elections,” added Mr Ismail.
Mahmood Moulvi, the Sindh president of IPP, shared details of the party’s engagements in the province where the party had held several meetings with leaders of different political parties.
He said the party believed in true essence of politics and dialogue for which it had engaged in talks with different leaders and parties.
“We are frequently meeting people and leaders,” he said to a query. “This is what politics is about. Being opponent or rival doesn’t mean any enmity. This is the true essence of politics and this is what unfortunately we lost over the years.”
Published in Dawn, November 22th, 2023