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February 2, 2015

Intra-party rifts render PML-N inactive in KP


February 2, 2015

PESHAWAR: The intra-party rifts and top leadership’s apparent lack of interest has been badly affecting the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the party activities are almost non-visible compared to other political parties. The lingering differences among the PML-N leaders in the province have created disappointment among workers right from Chitral to Dera Ismail Khan.
Leaders like the party’s secretary general Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, provincial president Pir Sabir Shah, Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan and advisor to the Prime Minister, Amir Muqam, have their own groups and are sometimes not ready even to share the stage at a programme.
The differences at the provincial level have rendered the party inactive even in the district and tehsil level. In Peshawar district, which used to have electables like Agha Syed Ali Shah, Younus Elahi Sethi, Mian Muhammad Iqbal, Fida Muhammad Khan and Haji Muhammad Javed, is without president since long after the removal of Abdul Sattar Khalil.
All is not well in the southern districts of the province as well. The old Leaguers are quitting the party one by one. Same is the case with the central and northern parts of the province. The party is also fast losing ground in Swat, Dir, Chitral, Malakand, Mardan and Charsadda where the PML had a vote-bank and used to win seats in the National Assembly and provincial assembly from time to time. Though the PML-N had emerged as the second largest party after Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in the 2013 general election in the province and is presently the third biggest political force in the provincial assembly, the majority of its members were elected from Hazara division.
In the past, the PML had representation from Swat like the family of the Walis of the then princely state, Miangul Aurangzeb, Adnan Aurangzeb, Asfandyar Amirzeb and old Leaguers Muhammad Ali Shah Bacha, Fateh Muhammad Khan and Shujaat Ali Khan, Haji Amanullah Khan (late), Malik

Jehanzeb and Inayat Khan from Dir; Shahzada Mohiuddin from Chitral, Fida Muhammad Khan from Malakand district, Abdul Subhan Khan from Mardan and Nisar Muhammad Khan and Ihsanullah Khan from Charsadda.
The party’s position in Kohat, where Javed Ibrahim Paracha used to enjoy sufficient support, is now dwindling. In Karak, ex-MNA Shamsur Rahman Khattak left the party to join the PTI and PML-N district president Wahidur Rahman has joined the Qaumi Watan Party.
The situation in Lakki Marwat is pathetic where Salim Saifullah Khan is hardly giving any public appearance and Akhtar Munir, the brother of Anwar Kamal Marwat (late) is also annoyed after he was not awarded the PML-N ticket for contesting the 2013 general election. Late MNA Kabir Khan’s family members including ex-MPA Zafarullah Khan and sitting MPA Munawar Khan as well as former MPA Malik Imran have joined the JUI-F. The groups of Malik Nasir Khan and Nawab Khan are pulling the party in the opposite direction in Bannu and the party activities are equal to nil.
The Miankhel brothers are no more active in Dera Ismail Khan, leaving the party affairs to Rehan Malik and Chaudhry Riaz Advocate, the party’s district president and general secretary, respectively.
Though Qaimoos Khan is heading the PML-N in Swat and Sarzamin Khan in Buner, only Amir Muqam is active in the whole of Malakand division. His brother, Dr Ibadullah, had won the National Assembly seat from his native Shangla district.
In Nowshera, the provincial vice-president Ikhtiar Wali and Youth Wing’s Mian Rashid Kakakhel have severe differences with the party’s district president, Haji Noor Muhammad, and general secretary Salim Mujahid.
Senior Leaguer Saranjam Khan is off the screen and Nawabzada Arsala Khan Hoti, Khwaja Muhammad Khan Hoti and district president Inayat Bacha are leading different groups in Mardan.
According to party sources, only the PML-N activists in Hazara are satisfied as the party leaders from the division have been duly accommodated in the federal setup. Sardar Muhammad Yousaf is a federal minister, Murtaza Javed Abbasi is Deputy Speaker National Assembly and Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan is governor of the province.
The political observers say this move of the party has created a sense of alienation among the workers in other parts of the province.Though Amir Muqam has been made an advisor to Prime Minister, he is without portfolio thus far. The party’s parliamentarians from KP and Fata, Shahabuddin Khan, Nazir Khan, Ghalib Khan Wazir and Dr Ibadullah have also not been given berths in the cabinet or chairmanship of the standing committees.
Political observers opined the party might gain ground in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa if the federal government launched mega development projects in the province and improve the performance of the federal government departments.

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