PESHAWAR: Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Imran Khan will address a public gathering in Swabi today where Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan (AJIP), headed by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai, will announce the merger.
The Health Minister said that Imran Khan would be accompanied by Jehangir Tareen, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Speaker provincial Assembly Asad Qaiser and others on his visit where he will address a historic crowed on this historic occasion.
The public gathering will be held at Karnal Sher Kalay in Swabi on today at 3 pm.
The Swabi-based AJIP, which come into existence in 2010 at a time when PTI’s popularity was rising, succeeded in winning three provincial and one National Assembly seats from Swabi. Later an independent MPA from Shangla joined AJIP.
Earlier from 2010, the group contested election either from Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid platform or as independent.
AJIP leaders decided on the merger in February when Shahram’s father Liaqat Khan was allotted a PTI ticket for a Senate berth. The joining of forces was initially scheduled on August 14 and then postponed to November 1. However, this could not take place due to various reasons.
Though the family of late Israa Khan, a founding member of the Pakistan Peoples Party, had been politicking in Swabi for many years, it gained prominence during the Musharraf era when it was part of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid. Israa Khan served as a town committee administrator in Nawan Kalay when former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was ruling the country in the mid-70s.
Shahram contested local government polls in 2005 for the office of district nazim on a PML-Q ticket and emerged victorious. His influence in the right circles at the time saw him succeed in getting his uncle, Usman Khan, and Javed Khan elected to the National Assembly in 2008.
Both of them were independent candidates and defeated Awami National Party’s Asfandyar Wali Khan and Amir Rahman Khan, respectively. The latter had served as an MPA from 2002 to 2007 and is the Swabi district nazim. He is also the president of ANP’s
Shahram and elders of his group decided to form their own party in 2010 at a time when PTI’s popularity was rising. The political maneuvering gave birth to AJIP. The group earlier had an understanding with late ANP dissident Dr Mohammad Salim Khan who had won a provincial assembly seat as an independent candidate. In the 2013 elections, AJIP succeeded in winning three provincial and one National Assembly seats from Swabi.
The AJIP became the fourth partner in the PTI-led coalition government after the 2013 elections. Shahram was given an attractive ministerial slot and was appointed as one of the three senior ministers in the cabinet. The AJIP chief is also the cousin of Minister for Education Muhammad Atif Khan.
Shahram also maintains close ties with PTI’s Jehangir Tareen. At present, all PTI leaders and stalwarts are celebrating the merger.