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February 14, 2017



Politicians begin switching parties in KP

General Elections 2018


PESHAWAR: Many prominent politicians and former parliamentarians have joined or re-joined those political parties that have started mass contact drives and are holding public meetings in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The politicians, who are annoyed with their party leadership, are joining other political parties, and the ones who are known for changing loyalties are doing so in search of greener pastures.As Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are holding frequent public gatherings in the province, a big chunk of the disgruntled elements or the ticket-seekers for contesting the next polls are joining these parties.

The ruling political parties are gradually losing public support.Despite getting its new leadership at provincial level, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has yet to commence mass contact campaign or re-organisation and mobilisation of its workers in the province.

Amir Muqam, the Advisor to Prime Minister, is ahead of all politicians in holding public gatherings in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He managed to rope in prominent political personalities to the PML-N. He succeeded in introducing the PML-N in areas where it was not popular.

PML-N’s provincial president Pir Sabir Shah and general secretary Rehmat Salam Khattak are sometimes conspicuous by their absence in meeting organized by Amir Muqam. Amir Muqam, who hails from Shangla district, has created an impression that he would be the next chief minister of the province.

Independent MPA Jamshed Mohmand from Takht Bhai in Mardan, Khan Akbar Afridi from Mardan city who bagged significant number of votes while losing a by-election, former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) office-bearer Tahir Khan Umarzai from Charsadda and former District Nazim Daud Khattak from Nowshera recently joined the PML-N after being persuaded by Amir Muqam.

It is expected that PTI Member Provincial Assembly Ziaullah Afridi may also join the PML-N. This would deal a blow to the ruling PTI.ANP provincial president Ameer Haider Hoti, who was chief minister from 2008-2013, is also holding workers’ conventions at the district and provincial level to mobilise party activists.

The ANP held a successful public gathering in Charsadda on January 22 to show its political strength. The party had faded into oblivion after its leaders were targeted by the militants and it lost the 2013 general election.

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) provincial general secretary Arbab Mujeeb also joined the ANP recently. It was a huge setback for the Mehmood Khan Achakzai-led party that was already very weak in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) provincial president Intikhab Khan Chamkani joined Jamaat-e-Islami last week in Peshawar. It has left the Chaudhry Shujaat-led party high and dry in the province.           

The Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) also held a public gathering in Sherpao village in Charsadda to mark the death anniversary of Hayat Mohammad Khan Sherpao.The event mobilised party workers in Charsadda which is its stronghold.

Local political figures are joining the QWP as the party leadership has established a strong bond with the people.On the other hand, the ruling PTI has been unable to hold any big public gathering or workers’ convention in recent months. The party lacks leadership at the provincial level as most of its leaders are holding public offices in the government.

Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has been spending most of his time in his home district Nowshera, particularly to his constituency PK-13 Nowshera. His family is monopolizing power in Nowshera where his brother Liaqat Khattak is district nazim and his son-in-law Dr Imran is MNA from NA-5 Nowshera.

The Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has not held any public gathering in the recent past in the province, but its leadership has kept the party active by consistently criticizing the ruling PTI and opposing the possible merger of Fata into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It wants the people of Fata to decide whether they want a separate province or merge into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.