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June 14, 2018

Disputes over 16 tickets: MMA’s central parliamentary board fails to make headway


June 14, 2018

PESHAWAR: The central parliamentary board of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) failed to make any headway in resolving the disputes over a number of tickets in different districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the two components of the alliance stuck to their position and referred the matter to the party heads to take the final decision.

The meeting of the central parliamentary board continued for two days in Islamabad with the MMA secretary general Liaquat Baloch in the chair.

“No progress could be made on the disputed tickets so far. Whatever proposals were sent by the provincial leaders remained the same,” an insider of the meeting told The News.

“Now the matter would be referred to the central leadership of the alliance, which has the discretion to resolve it in whatever manner they want and their decision would be final,” he said.

However, the meeting has not concluded yet, but there were very slim chances of any progress.

The provincial parliamentary board and provincial heads of the component parties of the five-party religio-political alliance had already resolved the disputes in majority of the constituencies of both the national and provincial assemblies.

Sources said only 15 to 16 seats could not be decided as both the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) had strong claims over the seats.

If the disputes are resolved, some 45-50 MMA tickets in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly would go to the JUI-F, 40-43 tickets would be given to JI and two each to Pakistan Islami Tehreek (PIT) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Pakistan (JUP).

The PIT would get one ticket each from Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan while JUP would be accommodated with a ticket each in Peshawar and Nowshera.

As far as the disputed seats are concerned, both the JI and JUI-F want the ticket for PK-7 Swat VI for their respective applicants.

The JI has nominated former provincial minister Hussain Ahmad Kanju, who had won the seat in 2002, while JUI-F has fielded Mumtaz Mujahid from the constituency.

Both the parties also have equal claim to PK-20 Buner I. The JI is seeking the ticket for former speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Bakht Jahan Khan, while the JUI-F wants it for former MPA Maulana Fazal Ghafoor. Bakht Jahan Khan has a history of winning this seat. However, he lost it to Maulana Fazal Ghafoor in 2013. The criteria adopted by the MMA this time for ticket distribution is the performance of a candidate and party in the 2013 general election.

The two provincial assembly seats in Shangla district - PK-23 and 24 — could not be decided. The decision on two seats in Mansehra and one each in Abbottabad and Battagram could also not be made.

Another disputed seat is PK-55 Mardan VIII. JI wants the ticket for its former minister Fazle Rabbani, while JUI-F is pushing the candidature of Shahid Khan amid reports that the JUI-F has already made seat-to-seat adjustment on this constituency and also on NA-22 with the PML-N’s Jamshed Khan Mohmand, who is considered favourite on the PK-55. Jamshed Mohmand has also applied for the NA-22 seat against Maulana Mohammad Qasim of JUI-F.

Reports said if the JUI-F manages to get the ticket for the provincial assembly seat it may withdraw its candidates in favour of Jamshed Mohmand. In return Jamshed Mohmand would take back his nomination papers from the National Assembly seat in favour of Maulana Qasim.

On PK-81 Kohat II, JI wants the ticket for former member provincial assembly Dr Iqbal Fana, while the JUI-F is insisting that its candidate Major Shedad is more deserving.

On PK-85 Karak I, former provincial minister Mian Nisar Gul has been awarded ticket by JUI-F, while the JI is promoting the cause of Colonel (r) Mohammad Khan.

Mian Nisar Gul has been frequently changing his political loyalties. In 2002, he was the lone Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate to have won the election in the province. In 2008 he won the election as an independent candidate and joined the Awami National Party (ANP), which granted him a berth in the provincial cabinet.

In 2013 he joined JUI-F, but lost the election. Now he wants to contest the polls from the platform of MMA. Colonel Mohammad Khan is a popular figure in the area and JI is insisting that he should be awarded the ticket.

On PK-86 Karak-II former provincial minister Malik Zafar Azam is the JUI-F nominee and JI wants the MMA ticket for Haji Rehmanullah. On PK 88 Bannu, JUI-F has nominated Zahid Durrani while JI wants the ticket to be given to Akhtar Ali Shah.

On PK-93 Lakki Marwat, JUI-F has nominated Anwar Hayat Khan, while JI wants the ticket for Azizullah Marwat.

On PK 99 Dera Ismail Khan, former opposition leader in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Maulana Lutfur Rahman wants to try his luck. But JI wants this ticket for Fatehullah Miankhel.

Maulana Lutfur Rahman, who is the younger brother of Maulana Fazlur Rahman, is expected to be among the leading aspirants for the office of chief minister if MMA wins the majority. He is also contesting as the MMA candidate for PK 98 Dera Ismail Khan-IV.

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