ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan is facing stiff resistance from his party workers who have now camped outside his residence in Bani Gala over what they call “allotment of party tickets to candidates without merit”.
So far, Khan seems unable to assuage the concerns of his protesting workers as on Monday he sought three days’ time to “personally review” all their appeals against the “unfair” award of tickets.
Monday witnessed a sudden surge in the number of protesters camped outside Khan’s residence who say they “will vacate the area after three days when Khan announces his decision”.
Khan addressed the angry party workers almost thrice in a bid to pacify their emotions but apparently failed as they are now demanding the immediate reversal of decisions of the parliamentary board that finalised the party candidates for the upcoming general elections.
According to estimates, over 2,000 workers were present at Bani Gala.
“I swear by God, I have not given even a single ticket to any of my family members or close friends. Decisions have been made purely on merit. Give me three days and I will personally review all appeals,” he asked the unhappy workers who by Monday evening managed to reach the gate of his residence.
Due to the presence of protesters at the main gate, senior party leaders who arrived at Khan’s residence to attend PTI Punjab Parliamentary Board meeting were unable to leave the house.
Khan’s tone changed seeing the influx of more and more protesters.
Earlier, during the day while addressing nearly 100 workers he categorically stated that he would not change his decision in the face of protests.
“You know me very well. I am not in a habit of changing my decision or succumbing to any kind of pressure,” he told workers, adding that all the tickets have been distributed in a fair manner and on the advice of the parliamentary boards working for many days to finalise the best candidates.
“I take party decisions honestly without any fear. At this stage, if I revert my decision due to your presence here, tomorrow thousands will gather here to force me for the same,” he said.
On the occasion, Khan listened to the protesting workers who objected to forming an alliance in Gujrat and Chakwal with the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid and awarding tickets to electables while ignoring the life-long struggle of party workers.
An infuriated worker told Khan, “You have always preached party workers to take the corrupt to task while on the other hand, you have awarded them party tickets.”
PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry also commented on the issue in a lighter way.
“We have more people outside Bani Gala than the football stadium of Moscow. Bigger match of election 2018 [is] going on here, everyone wants PTI ticket because people know this guarantees success,” he tweeted.
Majority of the protesters present at Bani Gala are from constituencies of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The party workers have been protesting outside Bani Gala for over a week. On Chand Raat, they had gone probably to celebrate Eidul Fitr with their families, but returned on Monday.
PTI criticises former CJP
The PTI on Monday claimed that Sharifs of Raiwind had fielded former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to malign Imran Khan on unfounded accusations after Reham Khan failed to serve the purpose.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, the PTI spokesperson criticised the former CJP, who is also the president of his political party Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party (PJDP).
He termed Chaudhry as the “worst ever” individual in country’s judicial history, who used his position to mint billions of rupees from high-end corporations through blackmailing.
PTI’s criticism is apparently in the backdrop of a recent political happening where PJDP challenged the nomination papers of PTI chief Imran Khan in Karachi and Islamabad allegedly for concealing assets and having a ‘lovechild’, Tyrian Jade Khan-White.
The PTI spokesperson said before the 2013 general elections, the PML-N had hatched a conspiracy to steal the elections in connivance with Iftikhar Chaudhry and justice (retd) Khalilur Rehman Ramday.
He alleged that in return the elder Sharif had promised Chaudhry the president of Pakistan’s slot, but later Nawaz Sharif changed his mind. He said that now again Sharifs had been using Chaudhry to further their designs ahead of the general elections.
“He [Iftikhar] is trying to play the same dirty game that Rehman Khan had tried to play but failed miserably. He is being used by Sharifs of Raiwind as a player against Imran Khan,” the PTI spokesperson said, adding that it was unfortunate that in Pakistan such dirty individuals were being used by political opponents to further their agenda against Khan.
“He [Iftikhar] has no moral standing and his politics revolves around mudslinging against others,” he said.
He said the whole world was aware of Iftikhar Chaudhry’s character, who used his son Arsalan Iftikhar, as his front man to do corruption.
“Iftikhar used to take suo motu notices against rich corporations and later his son used to make settlements and both of them earned billions of rupees through this practice,” he said, adding that the cases of EOBI and Eden Housing scheme were clear-cut examples of his corruption.
“Iftikhar’s character is a cancer for Pakistani society. PTI will ask NAB that why it is silent over the corruption of former CJP given enough available evidence against him and his son,” he said.
On the performance of the caretaker government, the PTI spokesperson said, “Performance of the caretaker governments is not up to the mark and its pace is very slow when it comes to taking important decisions to ensure free and fair elections.
“The caretaker government should shake up the system ahead of general elections by reshuffling the bureaucracy, especially in Sindh and Punjab,” he said, adding that several individuals who were named in judicial commission’s report in 2014 for stealing elections in favour of PML-N were still holding important positions in Punjab.
He said the PTI has recently raised objections in writing but the ECP has been paying no heed. He said the given situation was creating doubts about fair and free elections in the country.