ISLAMABAD : The banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) has revealed it supported Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 70 constituencies in the July 25 general elections.
The party has released a list of the 70 PTI candidates it supported on various National Assembly seats including chairman Imran Khan in both Karachi and Lahore. The list also includes several party bigwigs such as Faisal Vawda, Umar Ayub Khan, Atif Khan, Ali Amin Gandapur, Pervez Khattak, Sarwar Khan, Aleem Khan as well as Awami Muslim League head Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed.
An ASWJ spokesperson said the party supported the victorious PTI on a total of 45 seats, including Sheikh Rasheed, in Punjab. In Sindh, it supported 15 PTI candidates while ASWJ supporters voted for PTI in 10 constituencies in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). The spokesperson further claimed most of its supported PTI candidates won their seats on July 25.
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While ASWJ remains a proscribed organisation (as per NACTA website), it contested elections under the banner of Pakistan Rahe Haq Party (PRHP). Though PRHP could not win any seat in the elections, it bagged a total of 55,222 votes across the country. ASWJ-supported Muhammad Moavia won PP-126 in Jhang, who according to the party representative is likely to support PTI in the Punjab Assembly.
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“We reject the results of these polls. They were rigged,” said the spokesperson, saying many of their candidates including Aurangzeb Farooqi in Karachi were made to lose. “We did not support the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz anywhere except for one Islamabad constituency. Many of our workers were arrested by the PMLN government and that’s why we decided not to support them,” an ASWJ office bearer told The Express Tribune.
PTI on the other hand denied any electoral alliance or agreement with the ASWJ. “We had no alliance, no seat adjustment or any agreement with ASWJ,” the head of the PTI’s media department Iftikhar Durrani said. Adding that if ASWJ supported a PTI candidate it was only voluntary support but not a party position. He also denied that PTI had asked for Moavia Azam’s support in the Punjab Assembly. “There can be a discussion at individual level but it’s not a party position,” Durrani said.
It is pertinent to note that ASWJ had announced support for PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on NA-53. But it is understood that the party was divided on support for the former premier and is holding its local Islamabad leadership accountable for this decision. “The support to Abbasi was a due to misunderstanding,” said an ASWJ leader.
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