Prime Minister Imran Khan received a brief briefing on the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s setback in local government elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday, suggesting ‘wrong’ candidate selection based on ‘favouritism.’
The premier will sensitise party leaders in Punjab during his visit to Lahore on Thursday (today) to select the finest possible options and prepare well for the local government polls, which are scheduled to happen in the province in March or April next year.
On Friday or Saturday, Khan is expected to preside over a PTI core committee meeting to investigate the fundamental cause of the party’s setback in KP, where it has ruled for over a decade.
The performance report was delivered by KP Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, who was also reprimanded by Khan for not fielding ‘deserving’ and ‘poll-winning’ candidates, according to a source in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
The prime minister said that amid all the noise about the election result, nobody respected the fact that the government had empowered the LG system for the first time in Pakistan’s 74-year history. A day after blaming PTI’s defeat in KP polls on “wrong candidate selection,” the prime minister said that amid all the noise about the election result, nobody acknowledged the fact that the government had empowered the LG system for the first time in Pakistan’s 74-year history.
The PM tweeted on Wednesday that the local government polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa marked the beginning of a modern, decentralised local government system similar to that found in successful democracies. “Directly elected Tehsil nazims will strengthen governance and foster the development of future leaders.” We have an emboldened LG system for the first time in our 74-year history,” he stated.
However, PTI member Noor Alam Khan, who was elected to the National Assembly from Peshawar in 2013 and 2018, told a TV show that the ruling party’s failure in KP could not be blamed on the ‘wrong’ selection of candidates.
People in villages, according to the MNA, are unwilling to even obtain PTI tickets due to the government’s dismal performance. “We went to rural areas but were unable to persuade people to run for office on the PTI ticket,” he said, citing price hikes and unemployment as important causes.
The government could hardly be governed solely through Twitter and social media accounts, according to the PTI lawmaker, who also stated that he had been emphasising people’s difficulties without yielding any significant results. After raising the challenges that people at the grassroots level were suffering, he stated he had to establish his innocence before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in a possessions beyond means case.
If the fundamental concerns were not addressed within two weeks, he anticipated the results of the second part of the KP polls would be the same. He denied, however, that he and other like-minded MNAs would back a no-confidence resolution against the prime minister.
When approached, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry stated that while the PTI did not win top positions in the LG elections, it did win a majority of seats at the village council level.
“This demonstrates that the PTI graph has not deteriorated,” he claimed.
He said that the ruling party had learned from the first phase of the LG votes in KP and that the second phase [of polls, which will begin on January 16] will have better candidates.
According to the preliminary results announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan on Monday, the JUI-F not just won 15 mayor/chairman seats, but also fought hard in many other tehsils where its candidates came in second or third place.
The JUI-F startled the PTI in the provincial capital by taking a decisive lead in the race for mayor of Peshawar. Haji Zubair Ali of the JUI-F received 62,388 votes over Rizwan Bangash of the PTI’s 50,659 votes.
The JUI-F managed to win four of the remaining six tehsil chairperson seats in Peshawar, while the PTI only managed to gain one.
Fawad had previously described the JUI-F triumph as the victory of a “extreme religious-political party,” calling it “unfortunate” and “destructive to the country.”
In the meantime, Prime Minister Khan chaired over a separate discussion on kharif crops, which was streamed live to all provincial agriculture ministers.
The prime minister instructed the relevant agencies to make every effort to increase the acreage and productivity of all crops in order to ensure food security in the country. He stated that the government was concentrating on introducing improved farming techniques and investing in research to generate higher-quality seeds and fertilisers.
Khan was informed that, as a result of the government’s agriculture-friendly policies, there has been an increase in the per acre output of all key crops.
“Technology must be exploited to not only generate foreign exchange but to recover from the current account deficit,” Prime Minister Khan stated at a meeting of the board of governors of the Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA).
To encourage more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in IT, he advocated for efforts to improve ease of doing business.
Earlier, the prime was informed that the STZA has committed Rs520 million to various projects in the Islamabad Technopolis, Karachi, and Lahore Special Technology Zones.
During his meeting with Norway’s ambassador, Per Albert Ilsaas, the prime minister stated Pakistan and Norway had outstanding connections and that Norwegians of Pakistani ancestry created a powerful bridge between the two countries. He stated that more cooperation in political, economic, and other areas of mutual interest was possible.
Khan said Pakistan-Norway commercial connections were improving, referring to Telenor, a Norwegian telecom company.
The envoy also congratulated PM Khan on the successful holding of the 17th extraordinary session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Council of Foreign Ministers, on behalf of Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, whose party has won the legislative elections in September (OIC-CFM).
PM Khan also extended an invitation to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg to visit Pakistan as soon as possible.