PESHAWAR, Feb 21: The Pakistan People’s Party ticket holders are likely to face strong opposition from their own party men in shape of independent candidates in several districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in coming general election despite hectic efforts made by its provincial president Anwar Saifullah Khan to muster support of all the disgruntled activists.
Since his appointment as KP president in Sept 2012, Mr Saifullah has made serious efforts to activate the annoyed workers and for this purpose he also frequently spoke against the Awami National Party for not giving due share to the PPP in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He believed that it was because of the ANP that PPP workers could not get jobs, development schemes and even faced problems in postings and transfers in different districts.
During past few months, Mr Khan visited different parts of the province, spoke to public and workers’ meetings, and managed to bring several leaders of other political parties into PPP folds. They included women MPA Nighat Orakzai from Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, MPA Shazia Aurangzeb from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Iftikhar Khan Jhagra from Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf and many others in southern districts. However, some others have quit the PPP during this period. Party insiders say that many more are planning to leave the PPP due to the attitude of its central leadership. A former provincial minister and provincial general secretary Dost Mohammad Khan of Swat told Dawn that PPP was no more a party of workers and Bhuttos, but that of Zardari and his sister Ms Faryal Talpur.
“They do not want anyone work for the party, but they are using the workers for own interests,” he said and added that he and many of the party people would soon join other parities, most likely the PML-N.
Another former MPA from Dargai, Haji Jahangir Khan, told Dawn that in case the PPP awarded ticket to MPA Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha he would contest the elections as an independent candidate.
“Workers are disappointed and not ready to vote for Mr Bacha and even Dargai tehsil president Pir Zahir Shah is opposing him. The provincial leadership should avoid allotting tickets to sitting MNAs and MPAs otherwise most of them will lose the election,” he warned.
Mr Jahangir said that other parties were ready to offer them tickets. He criticised provincial finance minister Mohammad Humayun Khan and revealed that many of senior PPP activists had planned to nominate an independent candidate from among themselves.
Qasim Qasab, another founding member of the PPP in Malakand Agency, said that it seemed that their party had no authority and only the ANP was ruling the province. He said that majority of workers were annoyed with the local MPs.
“I have applied for party ticket against Mr Humayun and will contest independently if not allotted the ticket,” he maintained. The MPs are obliging only landlords and poor workers are not paid attention, he said and added that during military operation he lost four of his family members, but the government did not pay him compensation.
PPP workers in Upper Dir are also opposing MNA Najamuddin Khan and said that he had done nothing for development of the district. Sher Bahadur Khan and many others said that workers were not ready to support Mr Najamuddin in coming election. The workers have also started a protest campaign against state minister Azmat Khan of Lower Dir and warned that they would support the opponent candidate if he was given party ticket.
Requesting anonymity, some of senior PPP leaders and office-bearers in Peshawar division also complained against their central leadership for ignoring the ideology of Bhuttos and said that the party was run on ad hocism. They said that Faryal Talpur had no position in PPP’s organisational structure, but everyone had to bow before her for tickets and party slots.
They said that democratic culture should be developed in PPP and the dictatorial behviour of leadership stopped forthwith. A member of the PPP parliamentary board revealed that many of the party candidates could face independent candidates from within the party if the central leadership failed to allot tickets on basis of merit.
However, PPP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa president Anwar Saifullah Khan said that the parliamentary board would send the applications to central leadership with recommendations and tickets would be allotted on merit.