PESHAWAR: Talks between the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Awami National Party (ANP) regarding a possible alliance in the upcoming by-elections have been stalled, reportedly after the latter refused to support the JUI-F’s candidate on a Mardan seat.
JUI-F spokesperson Haji Jalil Jan confirmed the talks had been halted as the ANP was not supporting the party’s candidate on PK-27, a seat which fell vacant after independent candidate Imran Mohmand was killed in a suicide attack last month.
The parties had earlier said they would cooperate in the elections. Under the partnership, both parties had agreed to support the other’s candidates in constituencies where their members had won or remained runner-up. Recently, ANP candidate for NA-1 Peshawar-I and former railways minister Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour had also held a meeting with the JUI-F’s Senator Haji Ghulam Ali.
The by-elections are scheduled to take place on August 22 on four provincial assembly and five seats National Assembly seats.
Of the total nine seats, the JUI-F was meant to get at least six while the ANP was supposed to get three. The JUI-F was believed to have the ANP’s support on NA-13 Swabi, NA-25 DI Khan/Tank, NA-27 Lakki Marwat, PK-27 Mardan, PK-42 Hangu and PK-70 Bannu. In return the party would support the ANP on NA-1 Peshawar, NA-5 Nowshera and PK-23 Mardan.
Even though the JUI-F was runner-up for PK-27 Mardan, the ANP announced it would support Jamshed Mohmand, the brother of slain lawmaker Imran Mohmand, who was killed in a suicide attack in June.
The ANP claims it will not field candidates or support other parties against relatives of slain candidates. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is also supporting Jamshed Mohmand for this constituency.
ANP officials were not available for comment on this development. On the other hand, ruling partners in the provincial government, who earlier seemed divided in the run up to the by-elections, on Monday said they would support each other in the polls. Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf would support Jamaat-e-Islami’s candidate for the PK-27 Mardan seat.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2013.