To the finish line: All alliances a possibility as opposition races to form governments

Six districts likely to fall to ruling party; PTI plans to join hands with QWP in Charsadda


Our Correspondents July 02, 2015
Six districts likely to fall to ruling party; PTI plans to join hands with QWP in Charsadda. PHOTO: FILE

MARDAN: Political parties are rushing to enter new and revisit old alliances to improve their chances of forming governments in 23 districts of the province.

Staying on top

Insiders familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the ruling party in K-P, would only form governments in six out of 23 districts.

“The party claims to have a strong position in DI Khan, Tank, Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera and Battagram,” a party insider said. “It can single-handedly form a government in these districts.”

Speaking to The Express Tribune, PTI leader Shaukat Yousafzai said the party would try to form district governments in Haripur and Mansehra with the support of independent candidates.

“Furthermore, we plan to join hands with Qaumi Watan Party to strengthen our party’s position in Charsadda,” he added.

Coalition for Mardan

PTI has decided to exclude Awami National Party from the district government they plan to set up in Mardan.

“We welcome all the political parties, except ANP, to join us for a coalition government in the district,” PTI Mardan’s Syed Umer Farooq Kakakhel, who is an aspirant for the district nazim seat, told The Express Tribune on Wednesday.

Even with its 27 seats there, Kakakhel said PTI was interested in forming an alliance with Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistan Peoples Party which bagged two and five seats respectively. He added negotiations were ongoing with both parties and PTI would decide on a future course of action in the coming week.

In another development, the four-party alliance of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, ANP, PPP and JI in Mardan is no more in place. JI leader Ibrahim Beland said, “The alliance broke-up due to the hypocrisy of JUI-F.” He added, “A three-page agreement was also signed between parties but I don’t know why JUI-F broke away from it.”

A clean sweep?

However, in a bid to outdo the ruling party, the seemingly erstwhile tripartite alliance of opposition parties in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly is still attempting to finalise arrangements to accommodate each other in districts where they enjoy a strong position. In a bid to outdo the ruling coalition, ANP, PPP, JUI-F, with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, are still working out ways to form governments in a majority of districts.

Touching on its presence in 10 districts in a ruling capacity, JUI-F Spokesperson Abdul Jalil Jan said his party will be able to rule in Hangu, Bannu and Lakki Marwat districts without entering any alliance. “We are currently negotiating with independent candidates and opposition parties in Battagram and Kohat to improve our chances of forming a government in these districts,” he said.

According to Jan, JUI-F is also entering into an alliance with PML-N to be a part of the government in Mansehra, Swat and Shangla.

“JUI-F is likely to be part of a coalition with Jamaat-e-Islami in Chitral,” he said. “In Malakand, it has decided to join hands with PPP and ANP. The party also plans to support ANP in Charsadda, Swabi, Mardan and Torghar.” JI enjoys a strong position in Lower Dir and Upper Dir and can single-handedly form district governments there while PML-N is likely to form a government in Abbottabad and Shangla.

A helping hand

Although ANP enjoys a strong position in Torghar, Mardan, Charsadda, Buner, Swabi and Hangu, it might not be able to form a government in any of these districts without a helping hand. However, ANP is trying to form a government in at least Mardan sans PTI.

“We plan to enter into coalition in all these districts,” said the party’s provincial spokesperson Sardar Hussain Babak. “Negotiations are under way with PML-N in Shangla and Swat. We are trying to reach a settlement and accommodate each other in both districts.” As mentioned above, JUI-F is also looking to be part of the governments in these two districts. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2015.

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