Deadlock persists over seat adjustments among anti-PTI parties

Tariq Saeed

With the General elections scheduled to be held on February 8, 2024, the Political activities, especially those of the Political parties, are yet to gain momentum.
The major political parties of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with special reference to Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Muslim League-N, Awami National Party and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F of Maulana Fazal which earlier formed part of the anti-PTI alliance the Pakistan Democratic Movement are unlikely to give tough time to the PTI as the vote bank of the party, that ruled the province during the last ten years, remain fully intact.

In fact despite hectic efforts, and number of meetings, the PPP, JUI, ANP as well as PML-N could not reach consensus as the deadlock persists over the seat adjustment with every party demanding more share on the seats with particular reference to those constituencies that once remained their strong hold. Rather they are pitted against each other.

The above-mentioned parties held a marathon session at JUI Markaz but mercilessly failed to arrive at any consensus to form a grand alliance against the PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A number of sessions were also held between the PPP and the ANP for the seat adjustments yet both the parties were adamant to withdraw from National and provincial assembly seats and their parleys remained inconclusive.
Sources say, in the given scenario the major concern is of the Pakistan Muslim League that could not convince the other parties even for a couple of seats as its vote bank has reduced to alarming extent over the last few decades and it could hardly grab a few provincial assembly seats during the previous elections.
Besides, the Nawaz league also suffered a setback in KP when a diehard supporter of the party and a close aide of Mian Nawaz Shareef, former Chief Minister of KP SardarMehtab Ahmad Khan Abbasihas decided to end his decade’s long association with the PML reportedly over policy differences with the PML Supremo.

Sources say Mehtab Khan Abbasi who also served as Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federal Minister for Aviation in PML N government has opted for a formal separation from the Muslim League-N to contest the upcoming elections independently from NA-16 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Mehtab Abbasi is likely to participate as an independent candidate in the elections from NA-16 constituency, with the formal announcement of the “Azad Group’s”. Sardar Mehtab is reported to have said there are differences with Nawaz Sharif on principles and insisted there should be democracy in political parties adding hypocritical thinking and attitude have become important in PML-N.
Sources said Sardar Mehtab believes that Nawaz Sharif has a weak team that was unable to solve the economic crisis effectively and that the PML-N was limited to Punjab only.

On the other hand the Awami National Party also spoke its mind entering into alliance with any political party including the archrival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf should it focus on the agenda of democracy.
“The ANP can enter into an alliance with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf if democracy is the focus of the agenda yet the PTI should tell on what agenda it wants to make an alliance with us”. ANP’s senior vice president and former Chief Minister KP Amir HaiderHoti observed a couple of days back. Though he said his party could not support what happened on May 9, 2023.
In the meanwhile, with many diehard supporters bidding farewell to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, the Party has reportedly decided to introduce new contenders in the provincial capital in upcoming general elections. Party insiders said that a total of 12 new contenders are poised to enter the electoral arena, competing in 18 constituencies spanning the National and Provincial Assemblies of Peshawar.

According to sources key party figures, including Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Kamran Bangash, former Deputy Speaker Mehmood Jan and Sher Ali Arbab have been entrusted with the task of formulating this electoral strategy in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which the party believes continued to be its very strong hold should the forthcoming elections are held in free, fair and transparent manners.