The ANP-PPP alliance in KPK, it seems, will not remain intact in the coming elections as not only the leaders of the two parties but also their workers vehemently oppose any such idea. So far, even seat-to-seat adjustment plan is not on the cards.
Differences between ANP and the PPP have always been there, but rarely came out into the open. Now the old allies are thinking of new strategies to win maximum seats. The KPK PPP criticises ANP for not giving much weight to it in making important decisions, besides, constantly ignoring reservations on various issues that its lawmakers have been expressing from time to time.
The PPP workers have time and again opposed the alliance with ANP, but they were never heard properly as all such decisions are made at the top level. In the recent past, PPP Co-Chairperson President Asif Ali Zardari appointed Anwar Saifullah as the president of the KPK chapter of the party. Immediately after being given the job, Saifullah declared that he would give due importance to the party workers’ point of view in decision-making.
He has visited different districts where he addressed public meetings. In his speeches, the new PPP KPK president said he would bring all old buddies back to the party fold. So far, he has contacted several old guards who had either joined the PTI, PML-N or the ANP or had left politics out of frustration. It is said that Saifullah got a very positive response from the people he contacted and some of them would rejoin the PPP in the near future.
Like the party workers, Anwar Saifullah also opposes any electoral alliance with ANP and even seat adjustments, sources in the PPP told this scribe. His plan is to have a solo flight. However, if there is any possibility of cooperation with some other party or parties, preference will be given to seat adjustments rather than electoral alliance. But at present, it is too early to say anything about the final policy of PPP.
The PPP provincial leadership says it loudly that existing alliance in the province has benefited ANP only. So they would think twice before going for such partnership once again.
On the other hand, the ANP hopes to win majority of the provincial assembly seats in the coming polls on account of its performance during the past five years. As regards its election strategy, it plans to go for seat adjustments with other parties as it did in 2008.
A few political heavyweights have recently joined ANP. Almost two weeks ago, PPP senior leader and ex-district nazim Nowshera, Daud Khan Khattak, announced his decision to join ANP. ANP, political pundits say, could claim credit for doing different things for the province. These achievements include renaming the province, closing the Kalabagh Dam chapter for good and taking a number of steps in education and other sectors. The party leaders claim they face no threat from its political adversaries.
Other political forces are also making necessary preparations to get their due share in power after the next elections. For this purpose, former interior minister Aftab Sherpao, who has been heading the PPP (Sherpao), has now set up the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP). The QWP would set up its units in Pakhtun-dominated areas of Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab to highlight the problems being faced by Pakhtuns there.
He said he took the step because other parties, including ANP, doing politics in the name of Pakhtuns, have totally ignored their rights. There are indications that dissidents of the ANP have approached the QWP leadership and would join Sherpao’s party soon.
Of all other parties, JUI-F, led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, is more active in the province and it is holding public meetings in various areas.
A number of prominent politicians have also joined the party. Known for his clever political maneuverings, the JUI-F is expected to emerge as the largest party in southern districts of KPK.
Recently, PML-N MPA Munawar Khan from Lakki Marwat joined the JUI-F, followed by another MPA Attiqur Rehman from Hangu. He was associated with PPP-S.
The PML-N leadership is also out to reorganise the party in the province. PML-N Provincial President Pir Sabir Shah was reluctant to nominate those Leaguers against various party offices, who joined N-League along with Ameer Muqam in June.
This situation developed differences among supporters of Ameer Muqam and Sabir Shah. Later, Nawaz Sharif took notice of the situation and directed Sabir Shah to accommodate the nominees of Ameer Muqam.
But three days ago, Pir Sabir Shah issued a show-cause notice to sitting MPA and central general secretary of the party’s women wing, Shazia Aurangzeb, over criticism of the newly-appointed provincial president and general secretary. Shah said PML-N President Nawaz Sharif recently named Tahira Bukhari as the president of the party’s KPK chapter and Begum Shaheen Habibullah general secretary, but Shazia declined to accept both of them. Efforts are on to resolve this issue.
The PML-Q has almost disappeared from the province, despite the fact that new office-bearers of the party have been nominated by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.
Similarly, serious differences are seen in the PTI and the situation is expected to aggravate in the days ahead if timely party elections are not held this time.