Monday, 2 March 2015

QK archives: Senate elections 2003

Republished from DAWN archive for archival purposes.

Independents make dent

By Mohammed Riaz

Peshawar: The affluent independent candidates who ran for the Senate elections from NWFP have not only made a dent in the political parties, but shattered the confidence of the parties' leaders.

Three independent senators - Mohammad Azam Khan Swati, a former Mansehra Nazim, Waqar Ahmed, and his father Gulzar Ahmed, a former lieutenant of Benazir Bhutto - bagged the highest votes in the Senate election on Monday. The three worthy senators are known for their riches.

The three candidates have collectively polled 32 out of the valid 121 votes. Three votes were rejected.

Khalilur Rehman, alias 'Commander', who polled handsomely in a previous Senate election, has done very well this time again. This time he had managed a ticket of the ruling PML-Q and averted all gossip against him. But his fellow Leaguers are satisfied with him. He bagged nine votes.

The PPP and PML-N have emerged as the biggest losers in this election after the general elections. The PPP nominee, Sardar Ali Khan, polled only one vote out of the total of 10. The PML-N nominee, Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, also got only one vote out of his party's five MPAs. But his brother-in-law, Mumtaz Abbasi from Hazara, Dr Saleem Khan from Swabi and Sardar Israrullah Khan from Dera Ismail Khan voted for Mr Mehtab Khan and he won the seat on the basis of these three votes.

Awami National Party's Asfandyar Wali Khan secured seven out of the 10 votes of his party. Three of the ANP's members sold out. The PPP-S has 13 MPAs, but its nominee Shujaul Mulk secured 10 votes with three of its legislators slipping out of its grasp.

The ruling alliance, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, has won seven general seats, two women's and two technocrat seats. The MMA has secured 11 out of the total of 24 seats. The JUI, leading component of the MMA, has given four MPAs to Azam Swati and he managed seven more out of the other parties' dissidents.

Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani too had expressed his hatred towards the horse-trading in the elections. One of the candidates offered Rs12 million to an MMA member, but he refused to sell out. That MPA is very poor. He has an old motorbike. But he stood like a towering mountain against the lucrative offer. We know that brokers remained active for the last several days, he told Dawn. Ibrahim Qasmi, Maulana Ismatullah, Qari Mehmood, Sardar Idrees, Maulana Mohammad Idrees, Akhtar Nawaz Khan, Ghaliba Khursheed and Shah Hussain were reportedly directed by the MMA to vote for Mr Azam Khan.

After his success, Mr Azam Khan told reporters that he was thankful to the JUI for its support, but he would not sit with MMA senators as he had nothing to do with the alliance.

Dr Saleem from Swabi told Dawn that all the seven independents are united under one banner, but they had much earlier agreed that they would not collectively cast their votes. Everybody was free to vote according to his conscience.

MPA Zar Gul, PML-Q, remained active the whole day on Monday to coordinate with MPAs who were to vote for the PML-Q nominee. The PPP and ANP drove their candidates in a motorcade from their respective secure locations to the assembly hall.

Chief Minister Durrani led the JUI men from the Frontier House to the assembly hall in the afternoon. They were the last ones who polled their votes.
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