PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Saifullah brothers of Lakki Marwat have made an agreement to contest the upcoming general elections together to counter the stronger vote bank of Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Under the agreement, for the National Assembly (NA) seat, the Saifullah family will field its candidate as an independent with the support of the PTI, and in return, PTI ticketholders on provincial assembly seats will be supported by the Saifullahs.
The arrangement was announced by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Pervez Khattak while addressing a crowded press conference at Chief Minister House in Peshawar on Sunday.
Pervez also welcomed former Lakki Marwat district nazim Ashfaq Khan, former civil judge Sher Afzal Khan, Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan, and Amin Jan from Lakki Marwat into PTI.
Speaking on the occasion, Salim Saifullah Khan said their supporters forced them to form an alliance with PTI. “We will contest as independents on the national assembly seat and other parties have to support us,” he said, adding that they would try to get PTI candidates from Lakki Marwat even more votes than they could in PTI strongholds such as Nowshera and Mardan.
“Independent means free,” he replied to a question regarding his future decisions if PTI does not secure a majority in the country.
Salim also said that his family has a longstanding working relationship with PTI, as they had previously contested together in the by-elections of 2013, where their joint candidate secured an NA seat against JUI-F’s Attaur Rehman.
Moreover, K-P chief minister Khattak said his party will take action against lawmakers who were involved in horsetrading in the Senate elections. He also confirmed that around 13 to 14 party officials were involved in trading loyalties and a party decision regarding their future will come in next 10 days.
“Some of them are fleeing in advance,” he said replying to a questing regarding PTI members joining other parties.
Regarding the party’s decision not to present 2018-19 fiscal year budget in K-P, Khattak said it is the right of the next government to present the budget.
“We will not present the budget and our constitution also restricts an outgoing government from presenting the budget,” he said, adding that the federal government and other provinces should also take similar measures.
Regarding the caretaker setup in K-P, Khattak said they will negotiate with the leading parties regarding the process while adding that negotiations have not started yet.
The chief minister was also irked my complaints about the on-going Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project regarding which he had earlier claimed would be completed in six months.
“We wanted to complete the project before our tenure ended, and if it is incomplete, we would at least open a portion of it,” he said.
Khattak fended off criticism by saying that the people of Peshawar have no issues with the project and are happy with it, while only the media is criticising it. “It is the fastest project ever executed,” he said.