LAHORE: Former federal minister Jehangir Khan Tareen says a party of ‘clean’ politicians will be launched in September to provide an alternative to Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-N in the next general election.
The new party could forge an alliance with Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf “due to the similarities in objectives”, Mr Tareen, who is the parliamentary leader of PML-F, told Dawn on Tuesday.
The nucleus of the new party will comprise the ‘electables’ – politicians who have the potential to win the polls in a National Assembly constituency on their own. Sources said Mr Tareen has held meetings with a number of politicians of the mainstream parties to woo them to his side.
Among the politicians who are said to have shown some inclination of joining the new political party are PPP renegade MNA Shah Mahmood Qureshi; outspoken former PML-Q member Marvi Memon; PML-Q MNA Awais Leghari,; Jaffar Leghari; former federal minister and a rival of Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani from his Multan constituency, Sikandar Bosan; former minister of state Ishaq Khan Khakwani; former PML-N MNA from Faisalabad Raja Nadir Pervaiz; former minister of state Omar Ayub; former federal minister G. G. Jamal; former federal minister Sarwar Khan; former National Reconstruction Bureau chief Danyal Aziz; PML-Q MNA Tahir Shah; and former Punjab governor Mian Mohammad Azhar.
PML-N MNA Javed Hashmi and PPP’s Aitzaz Ahsan, Naheed Khan and Senator Safdar Abbasi have also been approached to join the emerging party. Likewise, a group of MNAs and MPAs belonging to the PML-N and Q from the Seraiki belt and Sindh are said to have assured Mr Tareen that they will at least seriously consider joining his ‘clean’ outfit.
“The establishment believes that Imran Khan’s party and a group of clean politicians can emerge as a strong political force in the coming elections as both the major parties – PPP and PML-N – have disappointed the people,” a source who is familiar with the effort of creating the new party says.
Confirming he was striving to shape a new party of ‘clean’ politicians, Mr Jehangir Tareen, who is an MNA from Rahim Yar Khan, said: “The new party will consist of only clean and untainted politicians who will work for the betterment of the country. We are getting together on a single platform not for power but for the sake of a country where corruption is so rampant today.”
In what appeared to be an application of an old formula, Mr Tareen’s focus is “on clean politicians who can secure their seats in the national or provincial assemblies”.
The emphasis on the ‘clean’ apart, this is a policy not dissimilar to the one adopted by the PML-Q leaders before the 2008 election – a policy that failed to deliver since many of PML-Q’s so called sure winners lost in that election. Yet, in his telephonic talk with Dawn on Tuesday, Mr Tareen sounded hopeful as he unveiled his attempt to ally with “parliamentarians who are unhappy with their parties over the way the affairs of the party and the country are being run”.
According to his count some 20 well-known politicians who are not part of the parliament now and about 30 parliamentarians across the country have agreed to join his party which is to be announced in September. “These politicians are not opportunists and practise the politics of ideology,” Mr Tareen said.
“And they are going to be backed up by a team of technocrats who would advise on ways of dealing with the challenges the country is faced with.”
“No, the establishment has no role in it,” Mr Jehangir Tareen responded to the obvious question that has greeted all past congregations of the ‘electables’ in Pakistan. Instead, he said the move had arisen out of a strongly felt need to save the country. “If we do not come forward we will be equally responsible for the condition of our country,” he said.
A large number of politicians who are in line for joining the ‘clean’ party come from rural background. Yet Mr Tareen did not rule out an alliance with Imran Khan’s PTI which has recently come up with an urban-centric, 100-day plan of action should it come to power. “Imran Khan has waged a war against corruption and our objective is more or less the same. The two of us may join hands for the election,” Mr Tareen said.