Differences which surfaced within the ranks of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) during intra-party elections in Abbottabad continue to deepen as PTI lawmakers turn against the district president and district general secretary.
According to insiders, PTI lawmakers and former candidates have written a letter to the party senior and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister (CM), Pervez Khattak, accusing the two senior office-bearers of working against the party’s interests and demanding their removal. The party’s Abbottabad president is Sardar Sher Bahadur and general secretary is Jan Qureshi .
Before the May 11 general elections, PTI’s current MNA from NA-17 Abbottabad-I, Dr Azhar Jadoon, and MPA from PK-45, Abbottabad-1, Sardar Muhammad Idrees left the Tehreek-e-Suba Hazara and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl respectively, to join the PTI and competed in the PTI intra-party elections. However, most of their candidates lost to the group affiliated with Sardar Sher Bahadur.
According to party insiders, Dr Azhar Jadoon, the losing candidate, challenged the results of the intra-party polls along with Bahadur’s membership and remained suspended for a while because of his objections.
Later, the matter was said to be resolved and party workers were asked to end their differences but the rift between the old activists and newcomers remained.
The differences expanded during the general elections when Jadoon’s and Bahadur’s groups remained polls apart during campaigning.
During CM Khattak’s recent visit to Namli Maira in Galiyat, the police had allegedly barred Sardar Sher Bahadur’s group members from entering the venue of the CM’s public meeting. This caused Bahadur to block Nathiagali Road along with over 200 workers.
Things took a turn for the worse when Jadoon, Idrees, former NA deputy speaker Sardar Muhammad Yaqub, Asif Zubair Sheikh (PTI’s candidate from PK-44 Abbottabad), Abdul Rehman Abbasi (candidate from PK-45), Sajjad Akbar Khan (candidate from PK-46), and Nisar Safdar Khan (candidate from PK-47 Abbottabad-IV) sent the letter to Pervez Khattak.
The PTI members jointly accused PTI Abbottabad President Sardar Sher Bahadur and General Secretary Jan Qureshi of working against the party’s cause and not campaigning for any of PTI’s candidates during the election, instead, supporting their rival candidates.
Furthermore, the letter demands the removal of both officer-bearers.
Insiders say CM Khattak expressed his concerns over the complaint and forwarded it to PTI K-P General Secretary Shaukat Yousafzai who sent the complaint to Bahadur on November 29, asking him to go through the contents and submit his reply within seven days.
When approached for comment, former NA deputy speaker Sardar Muhammad Yaqub confirmed the report, adding Bahadur has supported rival candidates against party nominees. However, he also accused MPA Sardar Muhammad Idrees and MNA Dr Azhar Jadoon of ignoring the party’s office-bearers.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2013.