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PR Short Notes


Photo Source: The Express Tribune

Pakistan Reader# 722, 15 February 2024

Imran Khan seeks coalition with MWM and JI



Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Central Information Secretary, Raoof Hasan, said that Imran Khan had recommended a coalition with MWM in the centre a

Shamini Velayutham

In Focus
On 13 February, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Central Information Secretary, Raoof Hasan, said that Imran Khan had recommended a coalition with the Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM) in the centre and Punjab, and Jamaati-e-Islami (JI) in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for the reserved seats.
 
Hasan, while addressing a press conference, said: “We're heading towards government formation in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, doubling down on efforts for the Centre, and figuring out what to do about the Punjab government.” He was mandated to approach political parties except the PML-N, MQM-P, and PPP. PTI’s alignment with both parties is a political strategy described as “both tactically necessary and strategically convenient,” given that the PTI voters are a “mixed bag.”
 
About the MWM, and why PTI prefers it
Majlis-e-Wahdat-Muslimeen (MWM) is a Shia-led party that is predominately dedicated to promoting the revival of Islam and addressing the issues faced by the Shia community in Pakistan, a Sunni-majority country. The party has contested during 2013, 2020 and 2024. With the MWM being described as a “blank slate” by Madiha Afzal, the PTI does not face the concern of overshadowing its identity.
 
Second, religious parties are a “convenient tool” that bigger political parties can use to form a coalition government. An editorial in Dawn states that PTI is “eager to shed its ‘independent’ status and link up with other parties in parliament.” One rationale behind this is that it is looking to “block defections” and “capture its share of women’s and minorities’ reserved seats.”
 
Third, the MWM is willing to work with the PTI. The MWM had extended its support to PTI earlier in the 2013 general elections. On 13 February, the MWM chief, Allama Raja Nasir Abbas, welcomed PTI’s decision to form a coalition and expressed his party’s allegiance towards Khan and the PTI till the “last drop of our blood.” Nasir said that the party had stood with Khan in his “testing times,” and emphasized that the MWM wanted to “advocate unity” and achieve progress in Pakistan. Regarding the reserved seats, he assured that his party was willing to comply with the PTI, adding that they would “unconditionally” accept anything that Khan decides.
 
About the JI: Will the two come together?
The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) party, is the oldest religious-political party in Pakistan with a strong presence in KP and Balochistan.
 
Will the two come together? According to Ali Jan,  explained that the “strategic” alignment of the PTI with JI was owing to the “nature of populism,” in which parties try to be “all things to all people.” However, on 13 February, the JI’s Central Naib Emir, Liaqat Baloch, turned down the PTI’s offer to form a coalition because the PTI’s offer was limited to just the provincial level.  Baloch stated that since the PTI expressed its desire for a coalition only in KP in the “last stage,” the JI decided that “coalition with PTI at the national level would be in the national interest, but if the PTI has changed its position, then they can settle their affairs with whoever they want in KP.”
 
References
PTI to ally with Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen in Punjab and Centre, with Jamaat-i-Islami in KP,” Dawn, 13 February 2024
Zebunnisa Burki, “PTI’s JI-MWM overtures less religious, more political,”The News International, 14 February 2024
JI turns down PTI’s offer to form coalition govt in KP,” Dawn, 14 February 2024
MWM welcomes, JI weighs alliance offer from PTI,” The Express Tribune, 14 February 2024
Bilal Ghauri, “JI gives thumbs down to PTI’s offer,” The Express Tribune, 14 February 2024
“PTI’s options,” Dawn, 15 February 2024
Abid Hussain, “Pakistan election: Can Imran Khan’s winning candidates form agovernment?” Al Jazeera, 13 February 2024

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