PESHAWAR: The Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) has sought time from coalition partner Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) after the latter asked the party to lend its support in the upcoming by-elections.
The PTI’s provincial leadership earlier held a meeting with QWP Provincial President Sikander Sherpao, who also happens to be a senior minister in the coalition government. The PTI’s delegation included Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Minister for Health Shaukat Yousufzai.
According to an official statement, Sherpao told the delegation a decision with regard to the by-elections would be taken after the QWP’s provincial and federal leadership were taken into confidence. Sources within the party said a meeting was scheduled with the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) as well. However, no formal decision has been taken as yet.
By-elections in K-P will take place on five National Assembly and four provincial assembly seats. Twenty seven candidates have submitted their papers for NA-1, 14 for NA-5, 26 for NA-13, 17 for NA-25, and 21 for NA-27. As for the provincial assembly seats, 11 candidates are contesting from PK-23 Mardan, six from PK-27, 11 from PK-42, and 10 from PK-70. The final list of candidates will be displayed on July 31.
While the PTI and QWP have not yet announced all their candidates, it seems evident that the JI will be contesting independently. The Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan, the fourth coalition partner, has also not announced any support as yet. Meanwhile, QWP leadership has announced it will not contest elections on PK-27 Mardan and PK-42 Hangu, where the elected MPAs were killed during the first month of the government’s tenure.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2013.