PTI shortlists ‘like-minded’ parties for electoral alliance
ISLAMABAD, Feb 5: The Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf shortlisted on Tuesday its ‘like-minded’ parties for an electoral alliance.
A meeting of the party’s political strategy committee presided over by Imran Khan decided to contact the political parties which have not been in the federal and provincial governments.
Its possible allies, according to a PTI leader who attended the meeting, could be rightwing Jamaat-i-Islami, small regional groups and nationalist parties of Sindh and Balochistan which didn’t participate in the 2008 election.
He said the PTI would meet Dr Tahirul Qadri of the Pakistan Awami Tehrik on Wednesday to discuss possibility of a joint election strategy.
“Whether somebody believes it or not, Dr Qadri has a certain following and talks about change, hence there is nothing wrong if the PTI and PAT can find some common ground,” he argued.
But another PTI leader said these were just preliminary contacts and the party had decided to reach out to the political forces which were on their own at the moment.
“We have decided to woo the political parties which have anti-PPP and anti-PML-N stance and will also stay away from parties in the government,” he said.
PTI President Makhdoom Javed Hashmi and Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi have been tasked to contact ‘like-minded’ parties for a possible electoral alliance and seat adjustment.
The PTI leaders also held a meeting with Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM), which represents the Shia community, on Tuesday.
The PTI has been accused by its adversaries of taking a pro-Taliban stance.
Political analysts are of the opinion that if Imran Khan forms an alliance or reaches seat adjustment accords with religious parties its image as a centre-right party will be strengthened.
The perception about the PTI being pro-Taliban also came under discussion at the meeting with the MWM which the former tried to rubbish and described as a propaganda against Mr Khan. The MWM leaders were informed that the PTI was against US drone attacks as well as ‘senseless’ suicide bombings by the Taliban or any other extremist force.
The MWM delegation, led by its deputy secretary general Ameen Shahidi, included Allama Iqbal Bahishti, Allama Asghar Askari and Malik Iqrar Hussain. The PTI delegation comprised Javed Hashmi, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Dr Arif Alvi, Firdous Naqvi and Ejaz Chaudhry.
The MWM had led a successful, unprecedented protest sit-in against the killing of Shia Hazaras in Quetta last month which resulted in imposition of governor’s rule in Balochistan.
ECP RECONSTITUTION: The PTI meeting reiterated its demand for reconstitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan. According to a press release, the party said it had serious reservations over the commission’s failure to implement the Supreme Court’s order for delimitation and voters’ verification in Karachi.
The PTI expressed confidence in the Chief Election Commissioner but demanded fresh appointment of four members of the commission and said only non-partisan people should supervise the elections. It regretted that despite several letters written and evidence produced to the Chief Election Commissioner about the misuse of taxpayers’ money for election campaigns by the federal and provincial governments, the ECP had not taken any action to end this practice.
The party accused the federal and provincial governments of following a policy of ‘jobs-for-votes’ and said that despite a ban on new induction by the ECP jobs were being given to people under backdated notifications.
RESIGNATION: The PTI again demanded resignation of President Asif Ali Zardari and said that being the PPP co-chairman he could not do justice with the role of overseeing polls and his stay in the Presidency would make the election process doubtful.