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Senate election in KP JI likely to strike deal with opposition parties to secure seat

By Javed Aziz Khan
March 01, 2018

PESHAWAR: A coalition partner in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), is likely to strike a deal with the opposition parties to win a seat for its provincial chief in the upcoming Senate election. After a series of meeting with different political groups, the JI on Tuesday held a long sessions with the opposition parties to finalise a deal under which they would likely to support each other in the polls, a source told The News.

The source said that the opposition parties have been asked to support the JI provincial chief Mushtaq Ahmad for a general seat in the Upper House of the Parliament. In return, the JI will vote for their candidates on reserved seats.

"We are hopeful that we will win one general seat in the upcoming Senate election. We have been holding talks with different political parties and something will be finalised in a day or two," Abdul Wasi, provincial general secretary of the JI, told The News. He added that JI was currently having eight members in the KP Assembly.

A candidate for the general seat, however, is to get a minimum of 14 or 15 votes to make it to the Upper House of Parliament. It remains to be seen whether JI manages to get the rest of the votes for its provincial chief or fail to get the seat.

JI is junior partner in the PTI-led KP government with three of its MPAs in the provincial cabinet. However, the two coalition partners have contested all the by-election and local government polls independently. The JI even criticised the PTI government for 'rigging in local government elections in 2015. The allegations soured relations between the two coalition partners but they continued sharing the KP government.

The candidates of the two parties are once again running for the Senate election. Leadership of the JI has already planned to quit the KP government after the formation of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) in coming days.

As per the commitment, the JI would quit the provincial government while JUI-F would leave the federal government to contest the coming general election from the platform of MMA. JI and other components of the MMA are not contesting the Senate election from the platform of the religious alliance and have fielded their own candidates. Like JI, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and other components of the MMA have also fielded their own candidates for the Senate poll being held on March 3. The MMA ruled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for five years after the religious alliance got majority in the provincial assembly in the 2002 general election.

The JUI-F was the major coalition partner, having the top slot of the chief minister and important cabinet members.