Electables continue joining PTI

  • http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=78433&Cat=7&dt=11/20/2011

    Delawar Jan

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seems to have sustained the pace of its popularity in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as prominent personalities and politicians continue to join it and people show their willingness in discussions to vote for it.

    The party is getting stronger as people continue to join it.

    The Imran Khan-led PTI that had hardly any elect able candidates in the province a year ago has now several politicians who have the prospect to win seats and more are gearing to join it.

    Though it gained approval among the people fed-up with the established parties and national leaders over the last two years, the Lahore rally provided a big fillip for the party’s prospect of electoral victory. More than two weeks after the rally, it is still the topic of discussion not only among the public but also the politicians. The debate whether a rally can make a party big is ongoing.

    Iftikhar Khan Jhagra, a former PPP provincial minister, recently joined the PTI, providing the party a candidate capable of winning election. Having a checkered political career, Jhagra is confident of winning any seat - provincial or National Assembly - in the coming polls. He had won provincial assembly seat KP-9 in 2002 when the MMA candidates defeated heavyweights of politics but lost by 210 votes in 2008.

    Though he said the party would direct him whether to contest election on the provincial or National Assembly seat, he believes he could stand as candidate on PK-9, NA-3 or NA-4. “A large number of people have already joined PTI here in Jhagra and others are approaching us to make public their affiliation with the PTI,” Iftikhar Jhagra told The News. At the time when he was talking to The News, he was at a corner meeting in Joganrai where villagers joined the PTI.

    “Previously, only young people had the tendency to affiliate with PTI, but now senior citizens are also joining the party,” he added. Jhagra said he would turn up a “great number of people” who would enter the party fold at the November 25 rally in Jhagra where Imran Khan would deliver an address.

    Former Intelligence Bureau Director General and PPP leader Masood Sharif Khattak, who comes from the southern Karak district, has also joined Imran Khan’s party. He contested election in 2002 from NA-15 but lost to MMA’s Shah Abdul Aziz. The PTI lacked a base in the southern districts but with his joining, it gained a toehold in that region.

    He could be fielded by the PTI in Karak for the lone National Assembly seat from the district.

    Yaseen Khalil, a former nazim of Town-III in Peshawar, has also joined the party. In his KP-5 constituency, the PTI workers are overconfident to win the seat irrespective of the candidate’s influence.

    The PTI’s mainstay in KP until now was Asad Qaiser and his team of young activists. He and crowd-puller Imran Khan were holding public meetings but now known politicians like Jhagra and Khalil who are organising gatherings, at least in and around Peshawar.

    The party has issued a schedule for public rallies where politicians from other parties will be announcing their affiliation with it. Among them are ANP’s dissident MNA Khwaja Muhammad Hoti and PML-Q’s veteran leader and former federal minister Nisar Muhammad Khan.

    Khwaja Hoti’s son, Omar Farooq Hoti, has already joined the PTI. Reportedly, the former has been waiting to win a promise from Imran Khan to make him the party’s provincial chief. The PTI has resisted his demand as it runs the risk to alienate the loyalist party activists who stood with Imran Khan through thick and thin.

    Khwaja Hoti is expected to announce joining PTI on December 16 at a public meeting with Imran Khan in Mardan. But an aide to Khwaja Hoti created doubts about his decision. “December 16 is many days away and the political landscape might have changed by then. Who knows he might join PML-N,” he said. Khwaja Hoti could not be reached for comment. Nisar Muhammad Khan will host Imran Khan in Charsadda to announce his joining the PTI.

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