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July 2, 2018

MMA completes ticket awarding process amid workers’ concerns


July 2, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Muttahidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) has completed the overall process of ticket distribution in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa amicably despite some reservations by the workers of different component parties of the five-party religio-political alliance.

In the recently merged tribal areas, however, the major parties of the alliance failed to reach consensus on award of MMA tickets and have decided to contest the polls separately.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) unilaterally issued MMA tickets to its candidates for the 12 constituencies of the National Assembly from the erstwhile Fata, now known as tribal districts. It prompted the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) to write a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan asking it not to give the MMA election symbol of 'book' to the JUI-F candidates. The JI also announced its candidates for all the constituencies in the tribal district who will contest the polls as independents.

The JI leaders vowed to move the court if the Election Commission failed to accept their plea of not awarding MMA tickets to the candidates proposed by the JUI-F. In other districts of the province, the process was completed with consensus after a lengthy tug of war. Both the major parties of the alliance - JUI-F and JI - were adamant to get the maximum share and all the seats of their choice.

They managed to resolve all the disputes on almost all the constituencies except PK-30 Buner 1, which was left open. According to reliable sources, the JI withdrew from its claim on the National Assembly seat in Buner, which it has won several times in the past. In return, the two provincial assembly seats PK-31 and 32 were given to the JI and PK-30 was kept open. However, the JUI-F later made adjustment with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Buner. It also unilaterally issued MMA ticket to former lawmaker Maulana Fazal Ghafooron PK-30, annoying the JI which believes that the JUI-F has violated the agreement they had already reached.

The JI allowed its nominee Bakht Jahan Khan to contest election on the seat in an independent capacity. Sources sxaid the JI also wrote to the Election Commission of Pakistan not to allot the MMA symbol of 'book' to Maulana Fazal Ghafoor as it argued he was not the unanimous candidate of the alliance.

According to the provincial general secretary of the JI Abdul Wasi, who is also the information secretary of the MMA, the JI got all the seats it was demanding. "We got the seats of our choice. There is no rift in JI at all and only a few workers of the party in some areas are unhappy. They too would be reconciled soon," he added.

The JI got tickets for 10 seats of the National Assembly and 37 of the provincial assembly in the province. It had fielded 33 candidates for the provincial assembly seats in 2002.

In Peshawar, the ticket for PK-73 had already been awarded to the JI on which it had nominated former central chief of Islami Jamiat Talaba, Atiqur Rahman, who along with his party activists had started a vigorous election campaign. However, at the 11th hour, Arbab Najibullah joined JUI-F and he was given the ticket for NA-30 Peshawar. Former provincial minister Amanullah Haqqani, who had earlier been given the National Assembly ticket, was asked to withdraw his candidature for the NA-30 and was instead given the PK-73 ticket. The decision caused unrest among JI workers and many of them expressed their anger against it in public.

However, Atiqur Rahman accepted the MMA decision and joined the campaign for the new candidate, Maulana Amanullah Haqqani, of the alliance. Another controversial seat was PK-65 which the JI wanted for its worker Jawed Nabi Cenna. However, the JUI-F was interested to award it to a new entrant in the party Engineer Tariq Khattak and the latter managed to get it.

JUI-F also managed to get ticket for former provincial minister Ibrar Hussain Tanoli on PK-32 Mansehra. Ibrar Tanoli changed different political parties quickly to get a ticket and he succeeded in getting one from MMA on the JUI-F quota. After quitting Qaumi Watan Party, he had joined the JI.

But the JI leadership believed he showed dishonesty in the Senate polls and was no more trustworthy. Therefore, the JI was not interested in getting an MMA ticket for him, prompting him to join JUI-F to get a ticket on its quota.

Moreover, the JI was offered only one ticket in all the southern districts of the province. It was PK-97 Dera Ismail Khan. But the party's nominee Fatehullah Miankhel refused to avail the ticket and preferred to contest as an independent candidate. The reason he gave for not accepting the ticket was that his brother Sanaullah Miankhel was contesting the election on Pakistan People's Party (PPP) ticket for the National Assembly seat against Maulana Fazlur Rahman and it would not be appropriate for him to contest the election on the MMA ticket in such circumstances.

The JI workers and office-bearers were expecting to get at least one MMA ticket each in Kohat, Karak, Lakki Marwat and Bannu. Some of them have even quit the party in protest. However, the party leadership believes they would be consoled soon and brought back into the party.

For the National Assembly contests, the JI got one MMA ticket each in Chitral, Upper Dir, Mardan, Nowshera, Charsadda, Abbottabad and two each in Lower Dir and Peshawar. For the provincial assembly, it got the tickets of all the seven seats of Upper Dir and Lower Dir, four seats in Swat, two in Buner, two in Malakand, three in Mardan, one in Swabi, two in Charsadda, one in Nowshera and six in Peshawar.

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