Shown the door: Dissident leader Samad Mursaleen’s membership revoked by PTI

Internal rifts and allegations over violating merit in allotting by-election tickets may cost the PTI NA-1 Peshawar-I.

Hassan Ali August 20, 2013
Internal rifts and allegations over violating merit in allotting by-election tickets may cost the PTI NA-1 Peshawar-I. PHOTO: FILE


The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday revoked the membership of Samad Mursaleen, one of the founding members of PTI’s Peshawar chapter who decided to contest the by-polls independently after being refused a party ticket for NA-1.

Mursaleen is standing as an independent candidate against PTI ticket holder Gul Bacha. He was earlier nominated president of PTI Peshawar and has also served as the provincial vice president of the party.

“PTI has cancelled the basic membership of Mursaleen for going against the party’s decision,” read a statement issued by PTI’s media cell, PTI Provincial General Secretary and K-P Health Minister Shaukat Yousafzai. “A show-cause notice was issued to Samad Mursaleen, but despite that he refused to withdraw his candidacy.”

A fresh notice was also issued to Mursaleen asking him to refrain from using the party’s name and flag for his election campaign. “Those who have betrayed the party and its leadership for the sake of a ticket cannot be its ideological workers,” Yousafzai said in the statement.

In contrast, banners and posters placed by the ‘ideological’ workers depict Imran next to Mursaleen and use the PTI’s flag. The confused campaigning has further perplexed PTI voters.

Internal rifts and allegations over violating merit in allotting by-election tickets may cost the PTI NA-1 Peshawar-I. The party won the constituency with an overwhelming majority on May 11, but now faces a curiously divided vote bank.

Even as Peshawar emerged as a PTI stronghold in the general elections after winning all of the city’s National Assembly seats, divisions were apparent soon after. Senior party leaders started objecting over the ticket allotment for the NA-1 by-polls.

Meet the candidate

After failing to reconcile their differences, a disgruntled group calling itself PTI Nazriati (ideological) formed in early 2012, fielded Samad Mursaleen.

“Someone has to take the initiative to expose opportunists in the party. Once I win the election, I will present the NA-1 seat to Imran Khan myself,” Mursaleen told The Express Tribune.

The candidate insisted he was still loyal to the PTI. “The whole city knows who has been victimized. I am the one who brought and strengthened the PTI in Peshawar and remained loyal to date. The people will vote for me.”

Apart from contesting elections from PK-2 on a PTI ticket in 1997, Mursaleen also wields influence among the community of traders and enjoys support of veteran PTI activists. Hence his move has the potential to divide the party’s vote bank further, handing advantage to Awami National Party (ANP) stalwart Ghulam Ahmad Bilour. Bilour is already backed by a three-party alliance – his own, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

“Mursaleen is an old friend but he will hardly get 2,000 votes. That’s why we asked him to withdraw in favour of his fellow party member several times, but he refused,” shared PTI provincial spokesperson MPA Ihtiaq Urmar. “PTI will win NA-1 constituency with an overwhelming majority just as we did previously,” he added.

Activists of PTI’s coalition partners Jamaat-e-Islami and Qaumi Watan Party are also enthusiastically campaigning for PTI candidate Gul Bacha, bringing PTI to the forefront in the NA-1 electoral race, argued Urmar.

Peaceful polling?

Unlike the general elections where the ANP and PPP failed to publicly campaign in the face of terrorism, ANP and PPP activists have been doing the door-to-door routine for the upcoming by-polls. While enjoying the support of Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Noorani (JUP-N), ANP and PPP have organised several public gatherings.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2013.


khan | 10 years ago | Reply

false news, this refers 2 my town i.e na1. rite candidate has got pti ticket. he is working 4 last 15 years in na1 4 pti. n i m a ANP voter.

Informer | 10 years ago | Reply @Adnan Siddiqi: You are right.....Paise say kisi ka bhi mu band kiya ja sakta hai
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