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Swabi Qaumi Mahaz shakes hands with AJIP

Amjid Ali

SWABI: The leaders of Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan (AJIP) and Swabi Qaumi Mahaz (SQM) issued conflicting statements about the merger of the latter in the former.
However, one thing became clear that the leaders of the two parties have entered in an electoral alliance here in the district for general elections on May 11. Leaders of the two parties held their parleys at the residence of Muhammad Akram Bacha. It was fourth round of their talks which resulted in success.
The AJIP delegation was led by its chairman Shahram Khan Tarakai and his uncle former MNA Usman Khan Tarakai while the SQM was led by its chief Babar Saleem Khan and general secretary Liaquat Yousufzai. Babar is son of late Dr Muhammad Saleem Khan, who along with former provincial minister Awal Sher Khan, ex-MPA Abdul Majid and Asmatullah Khan, formed SQM in 1997 and remained its chairman till his death in February 2009.
Babar Saleem belongs to a family of nationalist Pakhtuns and his father and grandfather were having long association with Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s Khudai Khidmatgar Movement and then National Awami Party.
Later, all the key leaders left the Mahaz and after Dr Saleem’s death it was young Babar who succeeded to keep SQM alive. The AJIP was founded by the entrepreneur family of Shahram Khan Tarakai soon after the elections IN 2008.
Babar is now contesting election from PK-31, Swabi-1 and he would use the platform of AJIP instead of SQM. It was this constituency from where his father emerged victorious in general election 1993 and 2002.
The AJIP leaders have claimed that the SQM has been merged in AJIP and Babar would the platform of his political party and he is our candidate from PK-31, Swabi-1. This was the decision taken by the leaders of the two parties. They finalised the plan to use one platform in the general elections and said they he would support the AJIP candidates in the remaining six provincial assembly constituencies and two national Assembly constituencies.
In contrast, when contacted, Liaquat Yousufzai, SQM general-secretary, admitted that Babar would contest election from the AJIP platform but he declared that they had not yet merged their party in the AJIP.
“We have some reservations about the complete merging of our party in AJIP and this issue would be tackled by the leaders of the two parties in the next days and might after the general election,” he said.
Liaquat said that the issue of using the party flag was yet to be agreed by the leaders of the two parties.
However, he admitted that after using the AJIP platform in the next general elections that were close on decision to merge their party in AJIP. “We have not yet taken the final decision and at present we are in an election alliance with the AJIP,” he said.
The local observers have predicted that it was the end of the SQM and after the Dr Saleem’s death his young son was not in position to carry the entire weight for a long period but he played a great role when all key leaders left him high and dry.
They said that even his uncle Muhammad Naeem left the SQM and rejoined the Awami National Party.

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