As elections loom closer, different political parties are keen on forging alliances in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), a province that has long been the centre of religious and nationalist parties.
Presently, both the Awami National Party (ANP) and the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) have shown interest in an electoral partnership with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) in Charsadda. Needless to say, an association between either will, by its very nature, exclude the third.
Both ANP and QWP leaders are offering JUI-F one National Assembly seat and three provincial assembly seats. And while ANP is supporting its leader Asfandiyar Wali Khan from NA-7, the QWP is advocating its chief Aftab Sherpao from NA-8. Leaders of JUI-F, on the other hand, are split down the middle regarding who they want to ally themselves with. Some of the party’s leaders from NA-7 want to get affiliated with QWP, whereas those from NA-8 want to collude with the ANP.
ANP’s president for Charsadda district, Khalid Khan said his party was in negotiations with all other parties. In addition to a coalition with the JUI-F, there was also a possibility of ANP allying itself with QWP, he added. “There are no opponents in politics because yesterday’s enemy may be a friend today.”
JUI-F’s district leader and former MNA Maulana Muhammad Gohar Shah said the decision to forge any alliance depended on JUI-F’s provincial body, adding that he would accept whatever decision is taken. Shah, however, claimed party leaders wanted to ally themselves with QWP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
JUI-F’s general secretary for Charsadda, Fakhr-e-Alam said if the district is consulted, it is unlikely the party will agree to give up seats in NA-8, PK-20, PK-21 and PK-22 constituencies. “We have a strong position in all these areas, and the QWP wants to take all of them through an alliance.”
The PML-N is also optimistic about forging a partnership with JUI-F, and if this were to occur in Charsadda, it would hurt the QWP more than ANP.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2013.