By Maryam Iraj
Yesterday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Wednesday, took a groundbreaking step by publicly announcing the names of those PTI members who sold their votes in senate elections last month.
Imran Khan, being the leader of PTI, announced many names with regrets as few of the members were there who stood by the party for a very long time but changed their loyalties during senate elections. At the same time, Khan also told the journalists that the list carried those people who used the name of PTI to polish their politics. Had they not joined PTI, nobody would have known them.
Selling vote is a disservice to democracy, political parties, and people of this country, said Khan.
PTI members who have been implicated of horse-trading include Sardar Idrees, Zahid Durrani, Abdul Haq, Qurban Khan, Amjad Afridi, Arif Yousaf, Javed Nasim, Yasin Khalil, Faisal Zaman, Dina Naz, Nargis Ali, Nagina Khan, Obaid Mayar, Fouzia Bibi, Naseem Hayat, and Samiullah Alizai.
Those members who joined PTI form other parties also sold their votes: Meraj Humayun who joined from the Quami Watan Party, Khatoon Bibi, and Babar Saleem joining from the Awami Jamhoori Ittehad, and Wajih-uz-Zaman who joined from the PML-N.
In alignment with the findings of research committee of PTI, showcause notices have been issued to twenty members, and if no response is received soon, the cases will be forwarded to NAB for further interrogation. Reference to NAB might bounce back on PTI, if its allegations prove otherwise. Keeping in view the confidence of Khan, it is difficult to jump to any conclusion at this point.
According to Khan, the alleged senators sold their votes for the hefty amount of Rs. 40 million each, but PTI Chief also hailed those members who defied the temptation of taking large bribes offered by other parties.Outright public rejections to the horsing claims have started coming from the alleged PTI members. It would have been a better decision had Khan announced their names after serving them the showcause notice.
The PTI Chief said that he had reports of many names who were involved in horsetrading right after the senate elections but he took time to investigate the allegations thoroughly. This is a highly bold decision taken by Khan at this point of time when Elections are approaching and by ousting these members, he is going to jeopardize the 30% of his total party strength.
Lately, at least eight PTI and its supporting MPAs have already joined other parties whereas almost 10 others have been indifferent to the party and government affairs and more likely to join other parties.
Now, a look at the current scenario would tell us that at least 63 are required out of 124 total seats in the assembly to form a government in the province. PTI’s current strength in KPK is at sixty, 60, and its coalition Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) comprises of seven ,7, members. With Khan’s decision, the coalition government’s strength is down to 47.
Horse-trading has always been a part of Pakistani politics but no one ever dared to hold the culprit responsible in public keeping in view all the setbacks and spin-offs. It might be too early to make the names public, but still a bold step. As Khan said, “Since forty years, people make deals in Senate elections. Our system does not catch anyone who accepts bribes for stamping a paper,”
There has to be a parliamentary committee in place to change the electoral system but despite many suggestion from PTI, it could never be realized. Allegations of horsetrading have always been raised after elections by the losing party, be it any.
PTI also suffered from the allegation that few blacksheeps in PTI sell general election tickets. Khan not only confessed to this loophole but also brought to the notice of everyone that tickets for next general elections would be allotted purely on merit, and those attempting to influence the ticket acquisition process with money would be disappointed. So, there is no point in wasting money, said Khan.
PTI Cheif further said, “the incumbent prime minister raised his voice about horse-trading after losing the elections, and only when it suited him unlike previous elections. It is sad that the prime minister created a commotion over the selling of votes. Every time this happens in the Senate elections, it does not affect them,” Khan said.
There is no second opinion to the fact that senate elections should be free, fair and transparent. Imran Khan dared other parties if they had the mettle to take the same risk prior to election which PTI took to cleanup as it almost cost him KPK coalition government.