Friday June 21, 2024

Unexpected election results hurt ruling PTI

By Mushtaq Yusufzai
July 26, 2019

PESHAWAR: The top leadership of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has been hurt by the election results for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly as contrary to its expectations only five candidates of the party out of 16 managed to get elected in the first-ever elections held in the erstwhile Fata.

Senior PTI leaders in Peshawar told The News that party tickets were awarded to either family members or relatives of the party’s parliamentarians from the former tribal areas.

Terming it a major cause of the loss in the elections, that claimed some of the party tickets were issued to people known for their notorious activities.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman told The News it has been decided by the top party leadership, including Chairman Imran Khan that the trend of promoting family members in PTI would strictly be discouraged in future.

“Despite some blunders, the PTI emerged as the only winning political party in the election. This is clear that in future family politics would strictly be discouraged and tickets would be issued on merit,” the governor said.

He was part of the committee that selected PTI candidates for the election.

Senior party members said the culture of promoting family members or close relatives was initially started by Pervez Khattak, Asad Qaisar and a few other people in the province. They said it caused a huge loss to the party.

Also, PTI leaders said the interview of candidates was conducted like college admission and less attention was given to calibre and social status of the applicants.

“The tickets should have been issued by March but we distributed tickets in a hurry just 40 days before the elections,” said a PTI parliamentarian from Peshawar on condition of anonymity.

As per unofficial results of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), PTI by winning five seats was still ahead of all other political parties in the election in the merged tribal districts.

Six independent candidates also managed to win seats of the KP Assembly.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) secured three seats and Awami National Party (ANP) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) won one seat each.

The party leadership is not happy with the election results. Chief Minister Mahmood Khan was expecting 10 to 12 seats. Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai had predicted the PTI would win 12 provincial assembly seats.

The party had fielded candidates for all 16 constituencies and made enough preparations.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had addressed huge public meetings in almost all the seven tribal districts and announced some development projects, including the Sehat Insaf Card to enable families to seek free medical treatment, to win sympathies of the tribal people.

The party irked many people in some tribal districts by ignoring old and loyal PTI activists in the distribution of party tickets.

Tickets were mostly issued to newcomers and to people based on their wealth and kinship instead of contribution and long association to the party.

The PTI members denied tickets contested election as independent candidates and harmed the party nominees.

The PTI had mostly swept the erstwhile Fata during the 2018 general election by winning six out of the 12 seats for the National Assembly.

“We acknowledge our mistake for issuing party tickets on the recommendation of PTI MNAs from the tribal districts. Our people contested against them and led to their defeat. No action was taken against the disgruntled party people in the past and this encouraged the dissident PTI people in the tribal districts,” said the PTI leader.

He claimed that an internal inquiry would be initiated to probe the allegations that certain candidates had heavily bribed some influential people in the party to help them get the tickets.

Sources close to Ajmal Wazir, advisor to the chief minister on tribal districts, was not consulted in ticket distribution.

“All the party MNAs from merged districts played a very negative role. We knew they would create problems for the candidates if tickets were issued without their consultation,” said the top PTI leader.

The results certainly weren’t to the liking of the party leadership.

PTI’s Anwarzeb Khan was elected Member Provincial Assembly from PK-100 Bajaur by securing 12,951 votes.

In PK-101 Bajaur, PTI’s Ajmal Khan, a contractor by profession, won the election by securing 12,194 votes. He is the younger brother of PTI MNA from Bajaur, Gul Dad Khan. All the candidates in PK-102 were resourceful and spent lavishly to win over voters. There were reports the price of one vote reached Rs10,000 two days before the polls.

The PTI candidate from PK-103 Bajaur, Hameedur Rahman lost to JI’s Sirajuddin Khan. He worked in NGOs and is the brother-in-law of PTI MNA from Bajaur, Gul Zafar. Sirajuddin got 19,088 votes while Hameedur Rahman polled 13,436 ballots.

A disgruntled PTI activist, Rahim Dad, contested as an independent candidate and contributed to Hameedur Rahman’s loss.

In the nearby Mohmand tribal district, PTI ticket holder Rahim Shah on PK-103 lost to ANP’s Nisar Khan Mohmand.

Rahim Shah bagged 9,669 votes while Nisar Khan got 11,247 ballots.

In Mohmand district, differences were visible from the day one soon after tickets were issued.

The unhappy party members including Sadiq Khan, Mohammad Israr Safi, Maulana Amirullah Junaid and Taj Khan had announced they would oppose the PTI candidates following disputes over ticket distribution.

The PTI first issued ticket to Sadiq Khan but it was cancelled as he turned out to be a government employee.

The ruling party then named Mohammad Israr Safi as its candidate for the PK-104 seat but he too was changed and ticket was issued to Sajjad Khan Mohmand. He lost to an independent candidate Abbas Rahman.

Sajjad Mohmand obtained 7,755 votes while his rival bagged 11,175 votes.

Abbas Rahman is the brother of former MNA from Mohmand tribal district, Bilal Rahman, and Senator Hilal Rahman. They are the sons of tribal chief Malik Rahman and are very influential due to their heavy investment in the marble industry.

Bilal Rahman remained MNA for 10 years. He lost to the PTI candidate with a small margin in the 2018 elections.

PTI’s three candidates, Shahid Shinwari, Ameer Mohammad Khan and Zubair Afridi lost to the independents in Khyber tribal district.

Some disgruntled PTI activists also contested against the party ticket holders.

PTI had reportedly committed ticket to an old worker, Shermat Khan Afridi, for PK-105. He belongs to Landikotal subdivision in Khyber. Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri allegedly backed him instead of the party ticket holder, Shahid Khan Shinwari, who is resourceful and spent heavily during the election campaign.

Dissident PTI candidates including Abdul Ghani, Abdur Raziq and Shermat Khan as well as ANP’s Malik Darya Khan contributed to Shahid Shinwari’s loss in the election. He secured 2,895 votes only and lost to independent candidate Shafiq Sher Afridi, who obtained 19,733 votes. Shermat Afridi did better and was the runner-up.

In PK-106 the young and wealthy Bilawal Afridi defeated PTI’s Ameer Mohammad Khan. He got 12,814 votes against Ameer Mohammad’s 5,930 ballots. Bilawal Afridi is the son of former MNA Shahjee Gul Afridi and contested as an independent candidate.

In PK-107 Khyber, PTI’s Mohammad Zubair lost to independent candidate Mohammad Shafiq, who got 9,796 votes. Zubair polled 6,375 votes.

In PK-108 in Kurram tribal district, PTI’s Shahid Khan Bangash lost to JUI-F’s Mohammad Riaz Bangash who secured 11,948 votes. The PTI candidate obtained 6,375 votes.

However, another resourceful tribesman who happened to be PTI candidate for PK-109, Syed Iqbal Mian, was elected MPA from Kurram. He bagged 39,536 votes against an independent candidate Inayat Ali’s 22,975 ballots.

In PK-110 in Orakzai tribal district, PTI’s Shoaib Hassan lost to the influential and well-off independent candidate, Syed Ghazi Ghazan Jamal, son of former MNA Dr Ghazi Gulab Jamal, also known as Dr GG Jamal.

Ghazan Jamal got 18,448 votes against 14,699 of the PTI candidate.

In PK-111 North Waziristan-1, PTI ticket holder Mohammad Iqbal Wazir won the contest. Sources in Mir Ali told The News that Ajmal Wazir had roped him into the party a few months before the election. He obtained 10,200 votes against 9,288 of JUI-F’s Maulana Samiuddin.

PTI, however, lost the second seat PK-112 in North Waziristan. The PTI ticket-holder Aurangzeb Wazir lost to an independent candidate Mir Kalam Wazir, who was backed by PTM.

Mir Kalam Wazir got 12,057 votes. The runner-up was JUI-F’s Siddiqullah with 7978 votes while Aurangzeb Wazir was placed third.

In South Waziristan, PTI fielded Afsar Khan and Naseerullah Wazir, for PK-113 (Mehsud area) and PK-114 (Ahmadzai Wazir area), respectively.

PTI’s Afsar Khan by securing 5,140 votes lost to JUI-F’s Hafiz Essamuddin who received 10,356 votes. An independent candidate Waheed Khan was runner-up with 9,679 votes.

In PK-114 South Waziristan, PTI’s Naseerullah Khan Wazir won the election. He secured 11,114 votes against an independent candidate Mohammad Arif Wazir who bagged 10,272 votes. The latter was backed by the PTM.

Local tribal sources said that Ajmal Wazir’s younger brother had withdrawn his nomination papers when the party issued PTI ticket to Naseerullah Wazir.

In PK-115, ex-Frontier Region, PTI’s Abidur Rahman lost to JUI-F’s Mohammad Shoaib. The winner obtained 28,102 against 18,028 of the PTI ticket holder.