- Giving up on JI’s‘arm twisting’ in KP, PTI finalising power sharing deal with its estranged ally QaumiWatan Party (QWP)
- MushtaqGhani, Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Shah Farman, NaeemulHaq confirm partnership
- Sources say deal taking place in ‘changing political scenario’, cite national level positioning of PTI-QWP friendship
- Sources say QWP likely to get ministries of energy, social welfare, women development after shaking hands with PTI in KP
Fed up with what it calls the “politics of blackmail and hypocrisy” by its major ally Jamat-e-Islami (JI) in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has almost finalised a power sharing deal with its estranged ally QaumiWatan Party (QWP).
Talking to Pakistan Today, top leaders of PTI and QWP have confirmed that the talks for a longterm alliance between the two parties have entered final stage and soon the alliance will be announced.
PTI’s Information Secretary NaeemulHaq confirmed that talks were underway for an alliance between the two parties. “Talks are underway between the KP’s senior leadership and the QWP leaders. Chairman Imran Khan is also in the picture,” he said.
The QWP is the same party which had been trashed by PTI chief Imran Khan on November 13, 2013 for “corrupt practices” by two QWP ministers, BakhtBedar, former minister for industries and labour, and AbrarTanoli, who was at that time the minister for forests. Both were sacked on corruption charges.
Later on, SikandarSherpao, then minister for energy, had resigned following sacking of his colleagues while the ministers had taken the matter to a court of law.
A top leader in the QWP told Pakistan Today that this time around, the QWP was eyeing an electoral alliance with the PTI and this cooperation would not be limited to KP government.
“Yes, talks are on to join the KP government as well. But the actual talks are on to get unanimity of views on major issues of the country so as both parties could go into the future polls together,” said the QWP leader. He said that the central leadership of both the parties was working over a unanimous election manifesto so that both the parties could come together on ideological and political issues.
The source claimed that KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak was a longterm buddy of QWP chief AftabSherpao and despite the resignation by SikandarSherpao,Khattak had not allocated his portfolio of Ministry of Energy and Power to any other minister.
MINISTRIES FOR QWP:
Moreover, the source said that ministries of energy & power, social welfare and women development are likely to be doled out to QWP nominees.
“Khattak is the main character who has brought Sherpao and Imran Khan closer again,” the QWP leader said. Khattak had also played key role in removal of Sabir Shah government in 1992. He was right hand man of Sherpao of PPP-Sherapo and also served with provincial minister.
“Khattak served as irrigation minister in PPP’s government from 2008 to 2012. He also feels comfortable with Sherpao. Even when Imran Khan decided to part ways with QWP, Khattak had advised against it,” the source added.
In this regard, Khattak recently told media that the PTI offered QWP an alliance and they have accepted. However, he did not comment on the reason for return of QWP, a party which they had scrapped previously.
TOGETHER WE GROW:
When contacted, QWP chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao confirmed that the talks between the two parties for a longterm alliance were in the final stage.
“We are holding talks to finalise the manifesto so as we could go into future election jointly. This time around the coalition would not restrict to provincial level but it would be a national coalition.”
“The talks are going on for alliance on various subjects. We will let the nation the details of alliance through media once the things are finalised,” he added.
KP’s senior minister Shah Farman also endorsed the views expressed by AftabSherpao.
Asked whether the PTI would accept same ministers who had been blamed and scrapped in recent past for corruption, Farman said that there was no precondition from QWP to get both the ministers into cabinet again.
“It was not limited to QWP ministers. PTI is only party in country’s history which even removed its own ministers on corruption charges. One needs to understand that we did not blame the entire QWP. The matter could have been resolved amicably if it did not become a media issue and a reshuffle could have saved the alliance. But unfortunately the matter went out of our hands,” he said.
About the possibility of new ministers from QWP, Farman said that new faces could also be given an opportunity once both the sides complete discussion on policy matters.
When asked what brought PTI and QWP closer again, Farman said that since the PPP, JUI-F and ANP have formed an alliance against the PTI government, QWP is a natural ally of the PTI as it was also against the corrupt leadership in those parties. “Now if they (QWP) support our government’s policies, why should not we get together for a common cause,” he argued.
Asked if the PTI government was going to offer QWP portfolios of ministries of energy, social welfare and women development, Farman said portfolios were not a problem as both the parties had convergence of views almost over all issues.
PTI’S KP LEADERSHIP UNCOMFORTABLE WITH JI:
Furthermore, a source in the PTI told Pakistan Today that the PTI had accommodated JIin an unprecedented manner but its leadership was using tactics of “blackmail and arm-twisting to its advantage”.
“Despite having small strength in KP assembly, the PTI leadership handed over to JI the ministries of finance, local government and zakat &ushr. What else could we offer them? But the JI’s tactic to form new alliances in the KP’s local body polls have compelled the PTI to look for new partners,” a PTI leader said.
He said that JI was taking full advantage of the situation and now it wanted to accommodate thousands of its workers in the departments of local government – a move PTI is fully opposing.
“JI is planning to accommodate thousands of its workers in the ministries of local government and Zakat &Ushr. Since appointments in BPS-16 and below in both the departments are not made through public service commission, the JI wants to accommodate its workers by forming selection boards.”
Asked to elaborate, the PTI leader said that JI plans to hire services of secretary for each union council, enabling it to accommodate over 16,000 workers against only one post.
“PTI and JI had also developed a rift in the recently held cantonment board elections, during which the JI demanded one member in each constituency for its nominees. Once the PTI refused to budge, the JI forged an alliance with the PPP and JUI-F. This badly damaged the alliance between the PTI and JI,” he said.
Furthermore, the source said that the PTI did not want to accommodate the JI in Peshawar where the JI also went its own way. Rifts between both the parties again surfaced when JI’s head of Peshawar chapter SabirHussain claimed that the CM House was a “home of conspiracies”.
Minister Information MushtaqGhani also said that all matters have been resolved between the PTI and the QWP and may be next the QWP may join the government. “This decision has been taken in changing political scenario. It will strengthen the government and we want to take along all political parties.”