Another U-turn? PTI forms committee for ‘political engagement’ with rivals

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan speaks during an interview with AFP at his residence in Lahore on March 15, 2023.  - AFP
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan speaks during an interview with AFP at his residence in Lahore on March 15, 2023. – AFP
  • PTI formed a five-member “Political Partnership Committee”.
  • Earlier, the party delegation met Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI-F.
  • Poll parties are forming a new alliance before the February 8 voting.

ISLAMABAD: With political parties gearing up for the general elections, in a rare move the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday announced the formation of a “political engagement committee” to reach out to rival parties ahead of the upcoming elections. .

The five-member committee includes Senator Ali Zafar, Senator Dr Humayun Mohmand, Ali Muhammad Khan, Ali Asghar Khan and Rauf Hasan, the party’s notification was shared on its official .

The development comes days after the former ruling party announced it would contest the general elections from “all constituencies” both at the provincial and national levels.

The Imran Khan-led party has traditionally accused political opponents, particularly the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and others. Have adopted a radical stance against the people. So much corruption and looting the country.

PTI’s move to decide to reach out to political parties comes as past rivals are turning to future allies with political parties leaving behind their old enmities and looking to strengthen their position ahead of the general elections on February 8. Trying to form new political alliances. Next year.

A day earlier, the PML-N and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) had announced to “jointly contest” the upcoming elections.

The move came after the MQM-P delegation led by Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Farooq Sattar and Syed Mustafa Kamal met PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif at the party’s Model Town secretariat in Lahore.

Last month, the PTI – after “moving on” to its jailed party chief Imran Khan – also approached one of its arch political rivals, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

A PTI delegation led by former National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and including Ali Muhammad Khan, Barrister Saif and Junaid Akbar met the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief at his Islamabad residence.

The meeting took place after Fazal had agreed to play a leading role in “national reconciliation” to bring political stability to the country.

Although Kasier said the party delegation met Maulana Fazal to express condolences over the Bajaur incident – ​​the suicide blast at a JUI-F workers conference in July that killed more than 40 people – the hour-long meeting was actually political in nature. and included discussions regarding the political situation in the country, sources said.

In the past few weeks, Khan’s party has shown signs of softening its once hardline stance against political opponents.

The party has appreciated the PPP’s statements about “level playing field” and not accepting a “minus-PTI result”.

“It should be kept in mind that without PTI, the election results will not be acceptable to anyone,” PPP Punjab acting president Rana Farooq said in a statement.

It is pertinent to mention here that last week, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), following the directions of the Supreme Court, announced that the general elections will be held on February 8, 2024 – ending months of ambiguity over the election date. happened.

The apex electoral body announced the election date after consultation with President Arif Alvi on the directions of a three-member bench of the apex court led by CJP Isa while hearing several petitions demanding timely elections within 90 days.

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