20 اپریل، 2015

چترال: بلدیاتی انتخابات میں جوڑ توڑ-کل کے دشمن آج کے دوست بن گئے

 



CHITRAL: All’s fair in love, war, and, in this case, politics as former foes are now forming alliances in the mountainous regions of Chitral for local government elections. 

Reaching out to frenemies

Although the two parties sit on opposite sides of the aisle in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf stalwarts have managed to muster the support of members from Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao’s Qaumi Watan Party. QWP used to be a coalition partner before two of its ministers were unceremoniously sacked by PTI.

However, the K-P ruling party is likely to face stiff competition from two other alliances, both of which could make life difficult for PTI in the polls. And have taken political observers by surprise. In the first instance, Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) which have conflicting views on politics and religion are now standing together in the region. A second alliance was formed on Sunday and involves equally strange bedfellows—the Pakistan Peoples Party and the All Pakistan Muslim League which is headed by Pervez Musharaf.

All this comes after PPP, JUI-F and Awami National Party formalised an alliance on the broader provincial level for local government elections. Waiting in the ranks to capitalise on any discord among the parties or alliances is JI which is considered an organised and disciplined force.

Not led from the top

All is not well in the ruling party’s ranks as Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and top leaders of PTI are announcing alliances for LG polls which are being ignored by workers. The situation is similar for the party’s coalition partners in the provincial government; JI and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan.

Justifying coming together for LG polls in Chitral, PPP MPA Salim Khan and APML’s Shehzada Khalid Pervez have claimed the union is for the sake of progress and prosperity in the region. They added both parties agreed to field joint candidates in 14 out of 24 union councils whereas the remaining 10 seats would be kept open.

In fact, the two parties were also in dialogue with PTI leaders for around 3 weeks, but the talks remained inconclusive. As a result, PPP and APML decided to join hands in Chitral.

With the different alliances being formed, PTI was left as the lone wolf until QWP agreed to an adjustment.

Chitral borders Kunar, Nooristan and Badakhshan provinces of Afghanistan and Khoragh of Tajikistan. It is likely JI and JUI-F will exploit Islamic slogans to muster support, while PPP and APML will make promises of peace.

In the 2013 general elections, PPP won one of the two provincial assembly seats in Chitral whereas the lone National Assembly seat was clinched by APML’s candidate. As for the second provincial assembly berth, that also went to the PPP after its result was stuck in litigation for over a year.

In upper Chitral, APML and PPP are considered political forces to be reckoned with whereas religious parties like JI and JUI-F are strong candidates in Lower Chitral.

However, the religious parties could lose some votes thanks to support in the region for PML-N and ANP. And then there’s PTI itself which could shatter the aspirations of the two alliances especially after it has won favour with QWP in Chitral.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2015. 

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