PESHAWAR: With electioneering in full swing and parties awarding tickets to aspiring legislators, senior Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf members complain of being sidelined and new members being preferred over them.
For the five National Assembly seats in Peshawar District, party tickets were awarded to former Pakistan People Party MNA Noor Alam Khan from NA-27 [previously Peshawar-I], Arbab Amir Ayub, NA-28 [Peshawar-II] Shah Farman NA-29 [Peshawar-III], Sher Ali Arbab, NA-30 [Peshawar-IV] and Shaukat Ali NA-31 [Peshawar-V].
On the other hand, Engineer Hamidul Haq, Sajid Nawaz Khan and Gul Bacha were completely sidelined. The senior party leaders loyal to the cause from the beginning are now despondent.
“PTI parliamentary board’s decisions regarding issuing tickets to new people disappointed the party’s oldest and most loyal members,” a senior lawmaker told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity.
He added that most party workers in Peshawar at the grassroot level have threatened to part ways with the party because of PTI’s attitude towards senior members while handing out party tickets. The official lamented how tickets were awarded to those who could not even stay sincere to their own parties and jumped ship.
The lawmaker further added that he predicts it is difficult for PTI to win the upcoming general elections with new candidates because town and union council members in multiple constituencies have met and decided not to support those who fly in on parachutes to the party.
Former MNA Haq is one of the oldest members of the PTI and was elected from NA-II Peshawar in the 2013 elections. He received 79,125 votes and defeated Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F). MNA Khan secured 66,528 votes and defeated Haji Ghulam Ali of JUI-F in 2013 as well.
Bacha also played an active role in party activities. He contested the elections for the NA in 2013, but the Awami National Party’s Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour won the seat. For these elections, PTI handed Bacha’s ticket to former PPP leader Noor Alam Khan.
Talking to The Express Tribune Haq expressed his disappointment with the party leadership and their decision. He had applied for both national and provincial assembly seats but the party leadership sidelined him for both.
“I don’t know what was the selection criteria for awarding party tickets,” he said, adding, “I was hopeful keeping my previous performance in mind, that party would award me a ticket but they failed to do so.”
Workers disappointed with these decisions are coming out and protesting against the unfair issuance of tickets, Haq confirmed. Members are also protesting against the nomination of Taimur Khan Jhagra from PK-73 and have placed banners and photos of the candidate in the Hayatabad locality to disprove PTI’s nominee.
They are also calling Jhagara a ‘parachute’ for his ‘flight’ to the PTI.