PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has again withdrawn the ticket for the National Assembly constituency, NA-10, from Nawaz Mehmood and awarded it to Waqar Ahmad Khan.
The see-saw battle between the two candidates and the indecision and somersaults of the PTI parliamentary board and leadership about the award of the ticket has damaged the party's reputation and could affect its chances in the election.
The NA-10 constituency is a tough one as it has been won in all recent elections since 2002 by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) provincial President Amir Muqam and once by his younger brother Dr Ibadullah. This time Amir Muqam is again contesting for the seat while the ANP too has fielded a strong candidate, Sadeedur Rahman.
Earlier, the PTI in its final list of candidates had mentioned Nawaz Mehmood as the ticket-holder. This had infuriated the supporters of Waqar Ahmad who staged protest a few days ago in Alpuri, headquarters of Shangla district. The protestors raised slogans against the PTI parliamentary board for ignoring Waqar Ahmad and some of them made speeches condemning the party leadership for awarding ticket to Nawaz Mehmood. The protestors' representatives alleged that the ticket was sold as Rs20 million was paid by Amir Muqam to bribe the PTI parliamentary board through a PTI leader so that the ticket is awarded to Nawaz Mehmood as he was a weak candidate. They also announced that Waqar Ahmad will contest election as an independent candidate if he wasn't awarded the PTI ticket.
The next day, Nawaz Mehmood's supporters came in even bigger numbers to Alpuri to protest the statements given by Waqar Ahmad's men against the PTI leadership and also highlight their demands.
Their main demand was that the PTI ticket should be given to Nawaz Mehmood as he was an old and loyal party activist and was the most deserving candidate with better chances of victory.
Meanwhile, Nawaz Mehmood in a statement said he was shocked when he came to know through the media that Waqar Ahmad through his supporters levelled serious allegations against the PTI parliamentary board and Imran Khan.
He claimed some of the PTI leaders didn't convey this piece of information to Imran Khan otherwise the ticket for NA-10 Shangla would not have been given to Waqar Ahmad who through his supporters had made it clear that he will contest the election as an independent candidate if the party ticket wasn't awarded to him.
"Pakistan needs Imran Khan, not Nawaz Mehmood Shangla. Even if I am denied the ticket, I will remain with Imran Khan," he maintained.
The official PTI notification of the final list of party candidates still contains the name of Nawaz Mehmood as the selected candidate for NA-10 Shangla. Imran Khan in his latest TV interview with Geo also made it clear that the final list of candidates had been issued and there is no change in it.
However, at the provincial level in KP, former provincial minister Mahmood Khan in a picture is seen handing over the PTI ticket for NA-10 Shangla to Waqar Khan.
This has created confusion as to who is the real ticket-holder because the final list of PTI candidates still carries the name of Nawaz Mehmood as the ticket-holder.