As elections approach, PTI ‘softens’ stance on rivals

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday announced that as part of its preparations for the upcoming general elections, the party has set up a “political engagement committee” that will hold discussions with a variety of stakeholders in the runup to the polls.

A notification shared on the party’s X – formerly known as Twitter – account announced on Tuesday that a selection committee consisting of five members had been formed, which includes Barrister Ali Zafar, Senator Dr Humayun Mohmand, Ali Muhammad Khan, Ali Asghar Khan, and Raoof Hasan.

In an announcement made earlier this week, the party led by Imran Khan announced that, in the upcoming presidential elections, its candidates will be nominated from all political constituencies in both the provinces and at the national level

As a former ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and others have traditionally held a hardline stance against their political opponents, notably the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Pakistan People’s Party, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and others who accuse them of corruption and looting the country.

As a result of the PTI’s decision to contact political parties in an effort to strengthen their position before the general elections scheduled for February 8 next year, past opponents have become future allies with political parties leaving their old enmities behind and striving to forge new political alliances with each other in order to strengthen their position.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) announced earlier this week that they will share the upcoming elections together.

A delegation of the MQM-P, headed by Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Farooq Sattar and Syed Mustafa Kamal, visited the PML-N secretariat in Lahore in order to get in touch with its supremo Nawaz Sharif.

After getting the approval from Imran Khan – the party’s incarcerated chief – earlier in the month, the PTI reached out to Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the head of one of its staunch political opponents in the JUI-F.

Asad Qaiser, former speaker of the national assembly, led a delegation from the PTI that included Ali Muhammad Khan, Barrister Saif, and Junaid Akbar to meet the head of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) at his residence in Islamabad.

After Fazl had agreed to play a leading role in trying to bring political stability to the country, the meeting took place after Fazl had agreed to take the lead in “national reconciliation”.

The party delegation met Maulana Fazl in July in order to offer condolences in light of the Bajaur incident which killed more than 40 people at the JUI-F workers’ convention. While Qasier claimed that the meeting was for expressing condolences over the Bajaur incident – the suicide blast that killed over 40 people – the source said it was in fact a political meeting and covered a variety of issues concerning the country’s politics.

Khan’s party has shown signs of softening its stance against political opponents in recent weeks, showing signs of its once hardline position towards their opponents softening.

According to the party, PPP has made it clear that they are not accepting results that have a minus-PTI, and that they are looking for a “level playing field”.

As Rana Farooq, acting president of the Punjab PPP, stated in a statement, “It is imperative that we keep in mind that minus the PTI, the results of the elections will be unacceptable to any party.”

There has been much confusion surrounding the date of general elections in Pakistan over the last few months. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), following the Supreme Court’s directives, has now officially announced that the elections will be held on February 8, 2024, putting an end to months of ambiguity regarding the poll’s date.

A three-member bench of the apex court, led by CJP Isa and comprising of three members, had given directions during the hearing of multiple appeals seeking timely elections within 90 days to the top electoral body, after consulting with President Arif Alvi.

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