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March 1, 2018
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PTI confident of getting six of seven candidates elected as senators

National

March 1, 2018

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PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is confident to get elected its six candidates, out of seven, in the Senate election being held on March 3.

The PTI's seven candidates include some new faces. Some of the old PTI activists said they were surprised and shocked when they came to know about nomination of new people for the election to the Upper House of Parliament.

"Like me, most of the people in PTI were stunned when the party nominated some billionaires for the Senate election. They had no contribution to the party except that they are stated to have paid a handsome amount to some bigwigs of the party in KP," said a senior PTI member pleading anonymity.

Those nominated for the Senate election on general seats are Ayub Afridi, Khayal Zaman Orakzai, Fida Mohammad Khan, Faisal Javed and Latif Yousafzai. Ayub Afridi, Fida Mohammad Khan and Khayal Zaman Orakzai are known businessmen and very resourceful.

Ayub Afridi is owner of Haier Pakistan and has businesses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and United Kingdom (UK). He belongs to Bara subdivision in Khyber Agency.

According to PTI sources, he is new in the party but has had long association with Imran Khan. "He is a great admirer of Imran Khan. He annually donates Rs10 million to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre," said a PTI lawmaker from Peshawar.

Ayub Afridi had previously wished to contest the Senate election, but changed his idea after realizing that there was no proper back up from PTI leadership. Khayal Zaman Orakzai is also one of the most resourceful candidates of the party. He is sitting PTI MNA from Hangu district. He has helped hundreds of people from his native Hangu district to get employment in the UAE.

According to PTI sources, it was in 2006 when PTI MNA from Peshawar, Engineer Hamidul Haq and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser brought him to the party. It was a time when Khayal Zaman Orakzai had become quite famous in his area and other political parties such as JUI-F and PML-N also made futile attempts to bring him to their party fold.

Fida Mohammad Khan originally belongs to Katlang area of Mardan district but has settled down in the Malakand district. He too is a successful businessman and owns filling stations in different places. Fida Mohammad Khan came to PTI from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

"Frankly speaking winning the Senate seat is not an easy job. And without these resourceful people, it will be difficult to retain our seats in the Senate," said a senior PTI office-bearer. Pleading anonymity, he said their candidates would need to pay some amount to the PTI MPAs as well to get their votes. He said some of the PTI MPAs may not follow the party line in the election. "This election will determine the future of many people," he said.

Another PTI candidate is Faisal Javed. He hails from Shawa Adda in Swabi district. He is not that much resourceful compared to other PTI candidates. He was associated with a private cellular phone company from where he resigned and is now working fulltime with Imran Khan. His wife is serving as a squadron leader in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Faisal Javed has long association with the PTI chief. Latif Yousafzai, another PTI candidate, is a senior lawyer and was made advocate general of KP when PTI came into power in 2013. If PTI circles are to be taken seriously, Latif Yousafzai might find it difficult to get elected as member of the Senate.

Azam Swati is another heavyweight in the race. He too is known for making a place in any political party of the country due to his wealth. He is contesting on technocrat seat and the party is confident to get him to the Senate. He came to the PTI from JUI-F.

Two female candidates, Dr Mehr Taj Roghani and Naureen Ibrahim are also contesting on behalf of PTI for women seats. Mehr Taj Roghani is a prominent paediatrician and is presently serving as Deputy Speaker of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

PTI is also supporting Maulana Samiul Haq, head of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami, and administrator of Darul Uloom Haqqani in Akora Khattak, Nowshera. His party has no representation in the provincial assembly. He too is contesting for a technocrat seat. With no MPAs of his own and no hope of getting votes from lawmakers of other parties, he is entirely dependent on the PTI for his success.

PTI spokesperson Shah Farman, who is also a provincial minister, said they would support Maulana Samiul Haq and he may also arrange votes for himself from different parties.

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