- Special Pages
PESHAWAR: Four key politicians from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province including three leaders of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) have met with the ruling Pakistan People’s Party provincial president Anwar Saifullah who invited them to join the party led by President Asif Zardari.
Political sources said here yesterday that PTI leaders Iftikhar Jhagra and Iftikhar Shah held a meeting with Saifullah in the presence of PPP leader and chairman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources Tariq Khattak and the party’s provincial senior vice-president Azam Afridi.
“Jhagra thanked Saifullah for the invitation to join PPP and promised to inform him of his decision by November 17,” a party leader privy to the meeting said.
Saifullah, the sources said, also spoke to another PTI leader Qurban Khan, on phone as he was not present at the meeting. Ali assured Saifullah that he too would consider rejoining the PPP.
Shah had quit the PPP due to the alleged undemocratic attitude of former PPP provincial president Senator Ali Khan. Jhagra and former member provincial assembly Khan had also quit the PPP and joined the PTI.
Saifullah, the sources said, informed Shah and Jhagra about the efforts being made to woo back disgruntled PPP workers and invited them to rejoin the party.
The sources said President Zardari had directed Saifullah to make concerted efforts to persuade the estranged party workers to return to the party fold and campaign for PPP candidates in the next general election. “The party’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa leadership has been tasked to reorganise the party in the province before the forthcoming polls so that it could win maximum number of seats and form the government,” a PPP leader said.
Meanwhile, the sources said that known social worker Ali Khan and Shoaib Khan from Akbarpura have also decided to join the PPP. They said that Saifullah had invited them to join the PPP. Ali Khan, the sources said, would make the announcement at a public gathering on November 13.
Saifullah, the sources said, also held talks with Arbab Manzoor in Lala Killay and managed to persuade him to announce joining the PPP. Manzoor is an old friend and class-fellow of Saifullah and is expected to make the announcement soon.
Meanwhile, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N is likely to challenge before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) the use of President House and governor houses in the four provinces for political engagements, party sources said here yesterday.
The leadership of PML-N is seriously contemplating the move in the light of the Supreme Court judgment in the Asghar Khan case in which the court had observed that the president was expected to rise above political leanings and carry himself in an impartial way.
“Yes, we may take up the issue to the ECP,” said Deputy Secretary General PML-N Ahsan Iqbal, when contacted. he said his party had been criticising the ruling Pakistan People’s Party of President Asif Zardari for using the presidency and governor houses for political purposes even before the Supreme Court judgment in the Asghar Khan case.
He said his party believed that the president should be an impartial person as he represented the federation.
Responding to a query, he denied that his party had any plans to move the Supreme Court on the issue, saying the ECP was an appropriate forum to take notice of the political activities at the presidency as it could affect the forthcoming general election.
A number of legal observers believe that the court?s verdict has a binding affect on President Zardari, who is also the co-chairman of the ruling PPP and has been presiding over meetings of the party?s Central Executive Committee (CEC) and holding consultations with the coalition partners on political matters.