PESHAWAR - Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information Shah Farman rejected allegations that the provincial government had launched development schemes in NA-4, Peshawar to lure the voters in the by-elections.

Shah Farman was referring to the reports that stated that despite ban on new development projects in NA-4 by the Election Commission, the PTI-led provincial government had approved solarisation of 440 mosques in the area.

In response to a query during a press conference on Thursday, the minister clarified that solarisation of mosques in PK-10 and PK-11 constituencies, falling inside NA-4, was approved under the Annual Development Programme for fiscal year 2017-18 and was not a new project. However, he alleged Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for violating the ECP code of conduct in NA-4 by elections. He asked the ECP to take notice in this regard.

The minister said that the provincial government had provided over Rs60 million to Peshawar Electricity Supply Company (PESCO) for installing transformers in PK-10 in June 2016 but, he said, the company was using delaying tactics in this regard.

The by-election in NA-4 is scheduled on October 26. The seat fell vacant due to the sudden demise of PTI MNA Gulzar Khan.

During the press conference, PML-N district president Sattar Khalil and vice president Hekmat Khan Khalil along with their friends and family members announced joining the PTI.

In 2013 general elections, PTI’s Gulzar Khan won the seat by bagging more than 55,000 votes, while the PML-N’s Nasir Musazai stood second by securing over 20,000 votes.

Political analysts are of the opinion that alliances would be preferred by the parties including PTI and PML-N to win the constituency as all major political parties have almost the same vote bank there.

In response to a question that whether the PTI was going to expel its coalition partner, Jamaat-e-Islami, from KP government after fielding separate candidate for the by-polls in NA-4, Shah said that contesting election was democratic right of every political party. He added that there was difference between government policy and contesting elections, so both should not be mixed up.

Replying to another question that whether Asad Khan, son of the deceased PTI MNA Gulzar Khan, who is contesting the by-elections on PPP ticket, would cut PTI votes in by-polls, he advised waiting for the by-election’s results.

Shah said that the PTI wanted free, fair and transparent elections in the country. He welcomed the PML-N former leaders into the PTI and claimed that a large number of workers from various political parties would also join the party in coming days in KP as well as other parts of the country.

Earlier, Hekmat Khan Khalil announced to withdraw in favour of the PTI candidate Arbab Amir and vowed to make vigorous efforts for strengthening the PTI.

Sattar Khalil said that he had served in the PML-N on various positions during the last 20 years, but the party had completely ignored ideological workers, he said, adding that the party had left them to the mercy of Amir Muqam, who, he said, had been appointed president of the party in KP in an undemocratic manner. There is no place and respect for ideological workers in the PML-N, he said, adding that it was why he decided to join the PTI. He claimed that a large number of PML-N workers would join the PTI from Malakand Division and other parts of the province soon.