From PTI to SIC

PTI decision will give it reserved seats

The PTI’s decision to join the Sunni Ittehad Council in the Centre, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa will give it the reserved seats it is supposed to get, but it raises questions about whether the PTI wants to link itself to a party which is not just religious, but has a sectarian foundation. The SIC was founded in 2009 by Sahibzada Fazal Karim, the father of the present President, Sahibzada Hamid Raza, as an umbrella organization of Barelvi parties to protest the American attacks on the Salala checkpost. Though the SIC was firmly against militancy in Afghanistan, it played a significant role in the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan’s Long March in favour of Mumtaz Qadri, the policeman who had assassinated Punjb Governor Salman Taseer. He had at one time been a PML(N) MPA, and later a PMLN) MNA. His son Hamid Raza has been elected as an independent, though he has now claimed the SIC affiliation, and will welcome the accession of strength. Including him, SIC had not put up any candidates for this election. However, now, he has said, the SIC will form governments in Punjab and KP, as well as the Centre.

That is a turn of events that was not really expected, that the contenders for power would be the PML(N) and the SIC. It must be noted that both the Sharif family and Imran Khan are Brelvi by affiliation. However, that has not prevented both from extending their appeal to other sects. The PTI is probably more involved in this at present, for the Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen supports it. That is a Shia party, but the PML(N) is in cahoots with the JUI(F), which is a Deobandi party. The PPP stands alone as a secular party not allied to any religious party. The SIC is promising total obedience to PTI Chairman Imran Khan, but it remains to be seen what happens when it finds itself at the head of the largest parties in three Houses.

However, there are still reverberations from the rigging allegations. The PTI wants to bring other affected parties onto the same platform, so as to protest the supposed rigging. Considering that some of them, like the GDA and the JUI(F), are still PML(N) allies, it only shows that becoming the SIC has made the PTI want a return to the politics of government formation.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].


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