Muqam questions Senate chairman’s status after Imran’s list

Urges chief justice to take notice of allegations, warns of suing PTI chief for defaming PML-N member

Umer Farooq April 21, 2018
PHOTO: Express

PESHAWAR: As the PTI continues a purge against those who allegedly sold their votes during the recently held Senate polls, the provincial chief of their biggest political rival has raised questions on the status of the Senate chairman and urged the top court to look into horse-trading allegations.

“What is the status of Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, the Supreme Court of Pakistan should look into the matter,” Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Amir Muqam told a news conference at the Peshawar press club on Friday.

His comments come days after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan announced names of around 18 lawmakers, including two who had joined recently, for indulging in horse-trading in the Senate elections.

Horse-trading in Senate polls

Muqam, who also holds the portfolio of adviser to the prime minister, asked that if the lawmakers —whom the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan believes had sold their votes — were being kicked out, what legitimacy is there then of their votes in the Senate elections and in turn of those who were elected to the upper house.

Muqam stated that although Imran had named those allegedly involved in horse-trading during senate polls, he asked who would bell those who had brokered these deals.

“People will appreciate if Imran identifies the brokers as well,” he added.

Muqam then joined the chorus of politicians who are perplexed at the PTI accusing even those lawmakers of horse-trading who were not part of the PTI.

PTI initiate disciplinary action against its 20 lawmakers

“Imran announced names but forgot to see that he also included names from other political parties who have nothing to do with PTI or to vote per their instructions,” the advisor to the premier said.

“He names our party member, Babar Saleem, who has nothing to do with the PTI,” Muqam smirked, adding, that the PML-N were consulting their lawyers to sue the PTI chief.

Saleem, who had been flanking Muqam, stated that he had been elected to the provincial legislature as an independent candidate. While he allied with the Awami Jamhoori Ittihad Pakistan (AJIP) — which later merged with the PTI — he had instead chosen to join the PML-N, announcing a decision to this effect at a political gathering in February, before the Senate elections.

I was supposed to answer to the PML-N leadership [during the Senate elections] rather than answer to the PTI chairman who has served me with a notice, Saleem said.

PTI aware of members involved in horse-trading: speaker K-P Assembly

“He has defamed me and I will sue him [PTI chief],” Saleem said, adding, “Imran must apologise publicly or face a legal battle.”

Muqam, though, criticized Imran’s recent actions where his actions betrayed his words, adding that the PTI chief had for the longest maintained a very public displeasure of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

“He, who would always talk about not even shaking hands with the PPP co-chairman, sold all his parliamentarians to him [Zardari],” the PML-N provincial chief said.

Muqam also took a swipe at K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and said that the province had suffered a collapsed since citizens were in debt after Imran allegedly broke records of taking loans.

“He, who would always make tall claims [of breaking the begging bowl], took billions of rupees from different organizations,” Muqam said, referring to Imran’s frequent criticism of the federal government.

He alleged that Khattak broke deals and had prepared a list and then submitted it to Imran [by Khattak] which targeted all those who could confront the K-P CM.

Muqam said adding those who had been named in the Panama Papers for creating offshore companies, were now joining the PTI as allies ahead of the next general elections.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2018.

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