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Imran seeks report from Khattak on horse-trading.

Byline: Said Alam Khan

PESHAWAR -- The results of Senate elections from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were not that much surprising. It was expected and it happened so. However, the very much unexpected characteristic of the polling was the triumph of a middle-class candidate fielded by the Pakistan People's Party and the defeat of a billionaire nominated by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Unpredictably, despite having 10 lawmakers in the 124-house, Aftab Sherpao-led Qaumi Watan Party failed to win a single seat in the Senate polls, while the PPP having just six legislators managed to grab two seats.

The results were also unexpected as for as the share of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Jamiat e Ulama e Islam-Fazl are concerned with each having 16 MPAs in the KP Assembly, However, the latter grabbed only one seat, while the former succeeded to clinch two seats. The Jamaat-e-Islami, a coalition of the PTI in the provincial government, which had joined hands with the opposition parties for Senate elections, could secure only one seat in the contest. The Awami National Party with its five legislators in the house failed to win a single.

Confident enough, the PTI was expecting to secure six seats, however, all its five nominated candidates managed to win. Apart from that, the PTI was backing Jamiat-e-Ulemae Islam-Sami chief Maulana Sami-ul-Haq on a technocrat seat, who lost by securing only three votes.

The defeat of the PTI billionaire candidate, Khayal Zaman Afridi, and Sami-ul-Haq has taken the party by surprise and it has taken note of the affair. Prior to the Senate polls, the PTI was under pressure to seek the allegiance of its MPs to stop them to cross the floor and vote to wealthy candidates fielded by the opposition parties.

However, the Senate results reflect what the PTI was fearing as it is believed that 15 to 17 lawmakers of the party voted to other candidates instead of their own party nominees. Sources in the PTI said that it showed that billionaires had heavily invested for their win.

'Those PTI MPs, who are now certain that they would not get party tickets for the upcoming general election, opted to vote to the opposition parties,' the sources in the PTI told this scribe.

They alleged that 'lucrative offers by the wealthy candidates may have made this possible, endorsing Imran Khan's view of directly conducting the elections for the Uppers House of the Parliament.' The sources claimed that direct elections would 'certainly stop occurring of this ugly practice in future'.

After the polls, KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak reportedly shared all the details with Khan today, who had expressed anger over alleged horse-trading in the Senate elections, and directed Khattak to submit a detailed report in this regard. The PPP and the PTI are accusing each other of horse-trading in the Senate elections in the KP Assembly.

The PPP nominee, Bahramand Khan Tangi, who belongs to a middle-class family and a diehard party worker, also won a Senate seat from KP.

Associated with the PPP since his college life, Tangi hails from Tangi village of district Charsadda and is the younger brother of the late Bashir Khan Tangi, who had died in Rawalpindi Liaquat Bagh suicide bombing-firing attack on the late Benazir Bhutto.

Similarly, the PPP nominee Robina Khalid, the widow of Khalid Rauf, a renowned TV drama artiste, writer and a film producer, also clinched a seat reserved for women. Rubina Khalid is the daughter of the late PPP MNA Syed Zafar Ali Shah and the sister of PPP former KP minister for health Syed Zahir Ali Shah.

Meanwhile, the JUI-F, which enjoys the support of 16 MPAs in KP Assembly, failed to elect its provincial chief Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan while its wealthy nominee Talha Mahmood retained his Senate seat.

Similarly, Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli, a close aide to Sherpao, also lost despite the support of the PTI, while Shagufta Malik, a devoted middle-class worker of the ANP, also failed to get a seat.

With the support of opposition parties, the JI got its KP chief Mushtaq Ahmad Khan elected to the Senate. PTI's Dr Mehar Taj Roghani, who is currently holding the portfolio of KP Assembly Deputy Speaker, also succeeded on a seat reserved for women and she would have to resign from her current position.
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Publication:The Nation (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Mar 5, 2018
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