Allegations and Unrest Surrounding PTI’s Candidate Nomination in Bajaur By-Elections

The recent by-elections in Bajaur have been marred by controversy, particularly surrounding the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) candidate selection process and allegations of impropriety. At the center of this storm is the family of Rehanzeb, a slain PTI party worker, whose grievances have sparked outrage and division within the party.

Rehanzeb’s family was dismayed when PTI did not extend them the courtesy of offering tickets for the by-elections. In response to this perceived injustice, Rehanzeb’s brother, Mubarak Zeib, decided to contest independently against PTI candidates, signaling a rift within the party’s ranks.

However, Mubarak Zeib’s decision to enter the electoral fray independently was accompanied by shocking allegations against Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Ali Amin Gandapur. He claimed that instead of allowing a fair electoral contest, he was approached with an offer of Rs 7 crore and a government job, allegedly to dissuade him from running against PTI candidates.

In an interview with Geo News, Mubarak Zeib revealed his interactions with key PTI figures, including Ali Amin Gandapur, Barrister Gohar, Sher Afzal Marwat, and Ali Muhammad Khan, in pursuit of a party ticket for the by-elections. His narrative painted a picture of shattered hopes and dashed aspirations, as the PTI leadership failed to address their concerns adequately.

The situation took a sinister turn when Mashal Yousafzai, purportedly acting on behalf of the Chief Minister, invited Mubarak Zeib to the Chief Minister’s House alone, under the guise of a private discussion. Mubarak Zeib interpreted this as an attempt to coerce or silence him, further deepening the sense of betrayal and mistrust.

Amidst these allegations and unrest, the unresolved murder of Rehanzeb looms large, casting a shadow over PTI’s governance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Despite being in power, the PTI-led government has failed to apprehend the perpetrators, leaving Rehanzeb’s family disillusioned and aggrieved.

In response to these accusations, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Advisor, Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, vehemently denied any wrongdoing on behalf of Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur. He refuted claims of bribery and coercion, emphasizing the democratic right of individuals to contest elections.

Barrister Saif expressed hope that Rehanzeb’s family would prioritize the party’s interests and allow the democratic process to unfold unhindered. However, the lingering resentment and sense of injustice within the family underscore the challenges PTI faces in maintaining party unity and credibility.

As the by-elections approach, PTI’s nomination of Gul Zafar for NA-8 Bajaur and Gul Dad for PK-22 Bajaur reflects its determination to assert control over the electoral landscape. Yet, the specter of discontent and allegations of malpractice threatens to undermine the party’s legitimacy and electoral prospects.

In the broader context of Pakistani politics, the saga unfolding in Bajaur serves as a cautionary tale of the perils of internal discord and the erosion of trust within political parties. PTI’s ability to address grievances, uphold democratic principles, and deliver justice will shape its future trajectory and electoral fortunes in the region.