PESHAWAR: The secular Awami National Party (ANP) and religious Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) on Friday agreed to enter into an alliance for the upcoming by-elections.
The JUI-F will support the ANP on two National Assembly seats and one seat in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly, while the ANP will support the JUI-F on three National Assembly seats and one provincial assembly seat.
This was announced in a press conference held at the JUI-F provincial secretariat. ANP leaders Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Arbab Muhammad Tahir and Tajuddin along with JUI-F Information Secretary Maulana Jalil Jan, Provincial Ameer Shaikh Amanullah and Attaullah Darwesh were present at the occasion.
Both parties had earlier sought out a simple formula for seat adjustments. Under the formula, each would support the other in constituencies where the parties secured a larger number of votes in the general elections.
“We agreed on the electoral partnership based on each party’s performance on May 11,” said Jan.
The JUI-F will back the ANP on NA-1 and NA-5, where the latter secured the most number of votes, in addition to the PK-23 seat which was vacated by former K-P chief minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti.
On the other hand, the ANP will support the JUI-F on NA-25 and NA-27, vacated by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and NA-13 where Maulana Attaur Rehman was the runner-up. The ANP will also support the JUI-F on PK-70 vacated by MNA Akram Khan Durani.
The parties will contest independently on PK-27 and PK-42 as the ANP’s leadership announced it would support relatives of the MPAs who lost their lives in terrorist attacks.
PK-42 was vacated after MPA Farid Khan was killed in Hangu. Khan was elected from Hangu as an independent candidate and later joined the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). PK-27 was vacated after MPA Imran Mohmand was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Mardan.
“It was our wish that all political parties in the province unite and contest the by-elections, but currently only these two parties have joined hands,” said JUI-F’s Maulana Jalil Jan.
ANP’s Mian Iftikhar Hussain claimed the partnership is a viable one. “The alliance between our parties is not unnatural and the situation created after the May 11 elections makes this partnership possible,” said Hussain.
By-elections will be held on five National Assembly and four provincial assembly seats in K-P on August 22, according to a notification issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan on June 28.
The Pakistan Peoples Party and Awami National Party also held a meeting on Friday to discuss a possible electoral alliance, however, the discussion remained inconclusive. Another round of talks has been scheduled for today (Saturday), said Mian Iftikhar. Electoral cooperation with the PPP would be made in light of the JUI-F and ANP alliance, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2013.