SWABI: Campaign for July 25 election by contesting candidates of various political parties here in the district has marred by serious internal differences which made the voters highly disorganized, sources in parties said.
In an interaction with this correspondent politicians admitted that the tickets awarding had widened the gap between the leaders and weaken the position of the contesting candidates.
The rivalry among them also divided the workers in different groups and a number of them decided to watch the entire election scenario like spectators. Before the announcing of election date it was expected that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leadership would display maturity and unity in their ranks would be a big advantage for them in the election.
However, PTI has been remained a divided house. Only the issue of ticket awarding of PK-43, Swabi-1 was not resolved in 20 days despite various meetings and involvement of prominent leaders. The heavyweights devised plan to dominate all affairs of the party and brushed all those who came in their way. The ticket awarding was also opposed in all other constituencies. Some of the candidates have decided to contest election as independent candidates.
“We are against the domination of the party by Asad Qaisar, former speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly and Tarakai House leaders,” said a distinguished leader on condition of anonymity.
“Mr Asad and Tarakai House are responsible for the entire mess because they refused to give an opportunity to other leaders.” The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) leaders also failed to strike consensus. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) failed to settle their differences. The former wanted a major chunk in seven constituencies of the district while the latter refused.
The rivalry has reached to such boiling-point that Mehmoodul Hassan, JI district chief had warned that they would contest election from all constituencies, opposing the ticket awarding formula devised by JUI-F. Independent leaders and leaders and workers said that the 2002 MMA was totally different from the 2018 MMA.
There are serious internal differences. The MMA won four seats from the district in election 2002 but in the July 25 election it might be very difficult for the religious parties to win two seats from the district, they said.
Awami National Party (ANP) who strives to achieve the past glory when the district was remained its stronghold, failed to maintain unity in its ranks. Insiders said that awarding of tickets to Shah Nawaz Khan (Na-18, Swabi-1) and Sarfaraz Khan Jadoon (PK-43, Swabi-1) and then withdrawal forced then to contest election as independent candidates was a blunder.
It has been learnt that there were also serious difference between the party president Ameer Rehman and general secretary Muhammad Islam Khan.
“Despite our serious efforts we could not strike a solution,” said a leader who was part of the team who negotiated between them. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders also pulled each other legs and indulged in allegations and counter-allegations. Iftikhar Ahmad Khan, member of the central working committee and district general secretary lead one groups and the rival group head is Shiraz Khan, former MPA and Sajjad Khan. The former contests election from PK-43 and the latter rom NA-18, Swabi-1.
“Let Shiraz becomes Chief Minister but he should not ignore the old leaders who rendered sacrifices the party. We delivered according to the expectations of the workers,” said Mr Iftikhar. He said that during his 20 years presidentship there was not rift in the party. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders also failed to give due respect to each other. The division among the PPP leaders during the last one decade remained in one shape or another which had harmed the party.
“We look for first ever win from the district, hopefully we will lucky this time,” said Gohar Ali Iqilabi, who contests election from NA-18. Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) is the only political party in the district whose candidates remained united and work with complete concentration and determination. The QWP leaders said that after Abdul Karim, former MPA who joined PTI they remained united and determined to give tough time to the rivals in the election.