ISLAMABAD: Senator Azam Khan Swati resigned from the membership of both the upper house and his Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) party on Wednesday in what he claimed was a protest against unbridled corruption and an “irrelevant” parliament.
The senator had pursued the Hajj corruption case in the Supreme Court relentlessly, which ultimately forced the government to sack former religious affairs minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi last year.
While talking to the media, he said he did not want to be part of a parliament that could not assert authority.
“I don’t think sitting in this parliament is of any use anymore,” Khan said, announcing his decision just four months ahead of completing a six-year term as a member of Senate.
But officials in Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI-F told The Express Tribune that Swati left the party after being informed that there won’t be any chance for him to get re-elected when fresh elections are held for half of the upper house’s seats early next year.
Swati, who is also an entrepreneur, was elected as a member of Senate from the JUI-F ticket back in 2006 and his six-year term is set to expire in March 2012.
After submitting his resignation to the Senate secretariat, Swati urged other parliamentarians to resign as well “because parliament was being used for rubberstamping the decisions taken somewhere else”.
Though Swati himself denied it, speculations are afloat that the senator might join Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), which has seen a remarkable jump in popularity in recent months.
“We had some indications in recent weeks that Swati was getting close to Imran and he might be thinking of joining him,” said a top leader of the JUI-F who requested not to be named.
“I don’t have any differences with the party,” Swati said regarding the JUI-F but did not offer any comment when an explanation was sought on whether he was actually planning to join the PTI.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2011.