ISLAMABAD: In a move that sent ripples across the country, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Wednesday announced it will initiate disciplinary proceedings against its 20 lawmakers in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly who allegedly ditched the party during last month’s Senate polls. These MPAs, found to be involved in horse-trading during an in-house investigation, may possibly be expelled from the party.
Each of these MPAs is facing charges of receiving bribe of up to Rs40 million from the PTI’s political opponents to violate the party discipline and to cast their vote in favour of rival candidates in the March 3 Senate polls.
“After detailed investigations by the party these 20 MPAs are found involved in selling their loyalties in Senate polls for monetary gains. As a first step of disciplinary action, they are being served show-cause notices,” PTI chief Imran Khan announced at a press conference in Bani Gala on Wednesday.
“In case of no or unsatisfactory response within next 10 days, they will be expelled from the party. At a later stage their cases will be sent to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) with evidence for action,” he added.
According to Khan, the Investigations showed that not only the MPAs elected on general seats, the women MPAs on reserved seats also ditched the party for illegal financial gains. These 20 lawmakers collectively form 33 per cent of the PTI’s total strength which has 59 MPAs in the K-P Assembly.
Some 60 per cent – or seven out of the total 11 women MPAs of the party on reserved seats in the K-P assembly – sold their loyalties in Senate elections.
These include veteran party activist Naseem Hayat, Parliamentary Secretary Relief, Rehabilitation & Settlement Nargis Ali, Nagina Khan, Parliamentary Secretary Social Welfare Dina Naz, Parliamentary Secretary Tourism Bibi Fouzia, Parliamentary Secretary Health Khatoon Bibi, and Meraj Hamayun Khan.
Elected MPAs who sold their votes, according to Imran, are Sardar Muhammad Idrees (PK-48 Abbottabad), Parliamentary Secretary Mines and Minerals Ubaidullah Mayar (PK-25 Mardan), Muhammad Zahid Durrani (PK-24 Mardan), Abdul Haq Khan (PK-61 Kohistan), Qurban Ali Khan (PK-16 Nowshera), Amjad Khan Afridi (PK-37 Kohat), special assistant on law Arif Yousaf (PK-04 Peshawar), parliamentary secretary Javed Nasim (PK-03 Peshawar), Yaseen Khan Khalil (PK-05 Peshawar), member of Public Safety Commission Faisal Zaman (PK-52 Haripur), Babar Khan (PK-31 Swabi) and Samiullah Alizai (PK-65 D I Khan).
The 20th lawmaker who allegedly sold his vote was Wajeh uz Zaman, who was elected as an MPA on the ticket of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) from Mansehra and joined the PTI later. Zaman has already left Imran Khan’s party and is now a member of PML-Quaid.
Imran Khan said he had knowledge of the possible adverse reaction of the PTI move especially at a time when the next general elections are around the corner.
“I have no doubt that the PTI will have to face consequences. But, we are ready to pay any price to purge our party of corrupt elements,” Khan said, adding these MPAs deceived party activists who had voted them to power.
The PTI chief said investigation results are quite painful for him but the PTI has set an example for the first time in country’s history and other parties should follow suit.
“We have names of other parties’ MPAs also who sold their votes. If their parties did not announce their names, the PTI will,” Khan threatened.
To a question as to what evidence led to current conclusion about these 20 MPAs, Imran Khan said ‘an inquiry committee formed for the purpose traced them by going through voting patterns in Senate election’. But he provided no detail of exactly what methodology the committee employed to arrive at this conclusion.
Khan said it has been happening for many decades now that elected representatives sell their votes and it is because of the flawed voting system – indirect rather than direct election – for Senate.
He said due to flaws in indirect election system the US also changed election method for Senate from indirect to direct one, as it lessens the chances of horse-trading.
“The PTI by taking this bold step has tried to restore sanctity of vote. This is the right way to respect the vote and voters,” he said in an obvious reference to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) ongoing respect-the-vote campaign.
He said there were some poor PTI MPAs who were offered up to Rs40 million but they did not sell their conscience. “I salute them,” he added.
To another question, the PTI chief acknowledged that in the past general elections some PTI leaders took money from party ticket aspirants but this would not happen in 2018.
To a question, Khan said deposed premier Nawaz Sharif should not be allowed to fly abroad to visit his ailing wife in London. “The PTI has serious reservations over the development and whole government is complicit with the Sharif family,” he said.