Expressing hopes for the creation of a separate Hazara province, two independent MPA-elects from the region joined the ranks of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday. The party has announced it will convene a provincial assembly meeting on May 29.
Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani and Qalandar Khan Lodhi, MPA-elects from PK-44 and PK-46 respectively, made the announcement in the presence of PTI’s chief minister-designate Pervaiz Khattak. Independent candidate from PK-65 DI Khan, Samiullah Alezai, who had earlier joined the PTI, was also in attendance.
Ghani claimed his decision came after he consulted his supporters. “I joined the PTI because of its efforts to set up a transparent system of governance in the province,” he said. Expressing confidence in Khattak’s leadership, he added PTI chief Imran Khan himself had promised the creation of a Hazara province. “By joining the PTI, we will try to pass a resolution in the assembly.” Lodhi is banking on similar hopes.
Ghani further said he felt as if he was rejoining the PTI, as he had been associated with the party for five years but parted ways over differences with the provincial leadership. Responding to a question, he said, “I am unconditionally joining the PTI.”
With Ghani and Lodhi, PTI’s strength in the K-P assembly stands at 41, Khattak said, while welcoming the new entrants. “Their decision is for change and for the betterment of the province.”
Khattak claimed his resolve to establish an exemplary government to transform the province, freeing it of oppression, corruption and the worsening law and order situation. “I myself feel I’m in prison. Due to prevailing conditions, I am advised to take a security detail along.”
Khattak also claimed another independent from PK-41 Karak, Malik Qasim, was joining the PTI too.
We held meetings with the Jamaat-e-Islami and Qaumi Watan Party and all issues in forming a coalition government, including assigning ministries, have been resolved, Khattak said, while refraining from divulging any further details.
Khattak also criticised the provincial caretaker government for its alleged inductions in certain departments. “They have nothing to do with inductions and are only there as caretakers.”
Commenting on new provinces, PTI provincial general secretary Shaukat Yousafzai said, “We will make a commission and wherever there is a need, new provinces will be made on an administrative basis.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2013.