The PTI on Monday announced its candidates for 13 National Assembly and 25 provincial assembly seats. However, in a strange twist, the party’s Lahore president, Abdul Aleem Khan, was not given a ticket.
The final list saw several changes compared to the tentative list that was released by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf’s central media office earlier during the month. The status of five NA candidates and 11 provincial candidates has changed.
According to a senior office-bearer within the party, an internal revolt was averted only because two men favoured by Aleem were awarded tickets.
Aleem had earlier recommended three candidates for national and provincial assembly seats from each constituency in Lahore. Among them were Shoaib Siddiqui, Nazeer Chohan, Nasrullah Mughal, Mian Javed Ali, Irshad Dogar, Zulqarnain Taj, Farrukh Javed Moon, Abdul Rasheed Bhatti, Jamil Asghar Bhatti and Sardar Kamil Umer.
Out of these, PTI’s central parliamentary board accommodated two of the recommended men – Nasrullah Mughal and Shoaib Siddiqui – for the NA and another for the provincial level.
The city wing’s general secretary, Abdul Rasheed Bhatti, had already left the party to join the PPP after being denied a ticket. Earlier, Aleem received Imran Khan’s party ticket from Faraz Chaudhry.
In further changes, three candidates who were finalised for NA tickets earlier, including Miraj Abbas Khokhar and Mian Mehmoodul Rashid, were demoted to provincial tickets, owing to strong reservations expressed by party leadership during the board’s review meetings chaired by party chief Imran Khan.
In the earlier list, the candidates for 13 NA constituencies were Hamid Zaman in NA-118, Muhammad Madni in NA-119, Dr Yasmin Rashid in NA-120, Barrister Hammad Azhar in NA-121, Imran Khan in NA-122, Mian Hamid Miraj in NA-123, Waled Iqbal in NA-124, Hamid Khan in NA-125, Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed in NA-126, Abdul Aleem Khan in NA-127, Zahir Abbas Khokhar in NA-128, Chaudhary Mansha Sindhu in NA-129 and Talib Sindhu in NA-130.
The final list revealed that five NA candidates had been dropped, including Hamid Miraj, Mehmood-ur-Rasheed, Abdul Aleem Khan, Zahir Abbas Khokhar and Chaudhary Mansha Sindhu, to accommodate new faces like Atif Chaudhary in NA-123, Shafqat Mehmood in NA-126, Nasrullah Mughal in NA127, Haji Karamat Khokhar in NA-128. NA-129 was declared open for candidates.
In the 25 provincial constituencies, 11 candidates were changed. Amongst these, Mazhar Iqbal Bhalli replaced Chaudhary Asghar Gujjar in PP-139, Irshad Khan replaced Atif Chaudhry in PP-139, Mian Hamid Miraj replaced Muhammad Yamin Tipo PP-144, Tariq Hameed replaced Mian Iftikhar in PP-145, Shoaib Siddiqui replaced Abdul Aleem Khan in PP-147, Mehar Wajid Azeem replaced Sheikh Imtiaz Mehmood in PP-150, and Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed replaced Haji Fayyaz in PP-151.
In a bizarre turn of events at the ceremony, male party workers beat up a female worker after she aggressively demanded to be led to Aleem Khan. All the while, she claimed she did not work for the PTI, but for Aleem. No further details are available yet.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2013.