PESHAWAR: With Senate elections just round the corner, three major political forces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa known for their bitter rivalry entered an alliance on Friday.
The decision was announced after a meeting of the leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), and Awami National Party (ANP). The PML-N was represented by parliamentary leader Sardar Aurangzeb Nalota, the JI by its minister Inayatullah Khan, while Sardar Hussain Babak represented the ANP.
According to the agreement, the ANP and JI will support PML’s Dilawar Khan on Technocrat seat; whereas the JI and PML-N will give first and second priority votes to ANP candidate Shugufta Malik, respectively. The ANP and PML-N also agreed to support JI’s Mushtaq Ahmed Khan by agreeing to give him second priority votes.
ANP’s Sardar Hussain Babak confirmed the alliance and said he was hopeful of its positive outcomes. He said that on women seats, the JI and ANP members will give second priority votes to the PML-N candidate Raeesa Daud Khan.
Ironically, there are seven female candidates against two reserved seats and five of them belong to the opposition parties. Through this alliance, the ANP is likely to drum up maximum support in its favour as its leaders are also engaged in talks with independent and dissident MPAs from other political parties.
There are reports of negotiations among the leader of the parties, such as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and Quami Watan Party, but these meetings have yet to yield outcome.
Reportedly, the JUI-F and PPP agreed to support to each other but its candidates are contesting on the same seats.
Against 11 seats of Senate from KP, there are 24 candidates in the run. Among them, 12 are on general; five on Technocrat; and seven on Women categories. The PTI is dominating the list with seven candidates, JUI-F with four, PPP and PML-N with three each, ANP two, while JI and QWP have one candidate each in the field.
Moreover, three sitting senators are in the run for retaining of berths whereas three former senators are on a move to re-enter the upper house. Three sitting MPAs and one MNA are also contesting the polls.