August 14 to Witness AJIP Merger in PTI
SWABI: Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan will formally merge with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on August 14.
The decision was made at a high-level party meeting held at Tarakai House in Swabi on Sunday. The meeting was attended by AJIP chief Shahram Khan Tarakai, Senator Liaquat Tarakai and other party bigwigs who endorsed the preliminary decision, taken in March, regarding the horizontal integration of the two ruling parties of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan is set to fly in and attend the merger ceremony at Tarakai House scheduled for Independence Day.
Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and other PTI movers and shakers are also expected to arrive for the occasion where Shahram will officially announce the merger.
The AJIP had promised the merger on the eve of Senate elections on March 5. His father, Liaquat, made it to the Upper House on a PTI ticket only.
PTI Central Organiser Jahangir Khan Tareen is said to have played a pivotal role in the integration. Ever since he joined the provincial cabinet, Shahram is said to have been on good terms with the leader.
Initially, not everyone was pleased with the integration. PTI stalwarts from Swabi, headed by K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, vehemently opposed the idea. However, after holding a detailed meeting in Marghuz Town, they decided to give in.
Emerging on the political scene before the 2008 general elections, AJIP gave tough time to Awami National Party in its stronghold, Swabi. In the first year of its inception, it managed to secure a berth in the National and K-P assemblies each. The party’s arrival was a major setback for ANP as the former candidate, Usman Khan Tarakai who is also an uncle of Shahram, defeated the ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan for the Lower House berth. The newborn party even edged out ANP Swabi President Amir Rehman to the provincial legislature.
The party’s affairs strictly revolve around the Tarakai family only. Shahram, his father Liaquat, and uncles Usman and Muhammad Ali all occupy lawmaker seats.
In 2013, the party made full use of ANP’s lost grip on Swabi, exactly the way PTI operated in other districts, and managed to secure one Lower House and three K-P Assembly seats. However, the ANP did fight back well in the May 30 local government elections and outplayed AJIP and PTI. Both Shahram and Asad saw ANP sweep district and tehsil seats in their native union councils.
For the past year or so, AJIP has weakened as an individual front. First its ally, Swabi Qaumi Mahaz’s Babar Salim, denounced its policies on the floor of the provincial legislature and second its Shangla MPA Abdul Muneem Khan joined PTI. Muneem, who had won the 2013 polls as an independent candidate, is serving as the special assistant to CM on industries. With the announcement, Muneem will also breathe a sigh of relief because he now cannot be de-seated under new political party regulations.
Worried about what more is in store for the party in the future, the Tarakais decided to follow the dissident lawmaker’s footsteps into the fold of PTI.
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