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February 10, 2015

PTI may not contest Senate polls


February 10, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTO) leadership is once again divided over the decision to go for the Senate polls and might likely decide against it, sources said. Contesting Senate elections from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa alone has been opposed by majority of the party’s core committee members and opposition to the idea is very strong, an inside source revealed to The News. An overwhelming majority of the core committee members says if the PTI claims and genuinely believes that Parliament is rigged/fake then there is no justification for sitting in the upper house.
On the other hand those who favour participation in polls argue that they cannot play any role in national politics if they remain out of the upper house for six years hence it is necessary that some sort of representation remains intact. If it does not happen then the province where the party is ruling would go without representation at the centre.
It has also been learnt that those opposing participation in the Senate polls have also demanded of the party to dissolve KPK assembly in order to create a real constitutional vacuum and pave the way for the dissolution of all assemblies with which Nawaz Sharif government will automatically crumble.
The source requesting anonymity said that barring some members of the core committee, mostly from KPK, who had opposed resignations by the MNAs from the province, the majority’s view is that contesting the Senate polls will give political impetus to the ruling PML-N and PTI’s goal of ousting the government would drag farther.
Meanwhile the provincial chief minister Parvaiz Khattak has initiated a move to make the Senate polls transparent and end horse trading by offering PPP a seat in the Senate although the party has only 5 members in the provincial assembly and lacks the needed 10.5 votes. PTI KPK chief Azam Swati confirmed the move and told The News that Parvaiz Khattak has contacted provincial PPP secretary general Zahir Shah and made an

offer to this effect. He said the CM has also extended full cooperation to other parties so that any financial manipulation could be stopped and real representatives of parties are elected. Azam Khan Swati however declined to reject or confirm the report that majority of core committee members are opposed to taking part in the Senate polls.
Moreover, the PTI is also seriously pondering over resumption of its protest it shun on December 17 following gruesome killings of APS Peshawar children and teachers. “Imran Khan’s container is about to reach Lahore once again to launch the protest march to press the government into setting up of a judicial commission on its terms to probe the alleged rigging in the 2013 general polls,” said a well placed source. The source on condition of anonymity said the last core committee meeting had taken a decision in this respect as it came to the conclusion that the government was not serious in considering its viewpoint on the question of establishing JC.

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