PESHAWAR: Some of the old and ideological workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are hoping that Saifullah Niazi, who joined the party way back in 1996, would be awarded the ticket to contest the National Assembly by-election on the NA-53 Islamabad constituency.
Saifullah Niazi is believed to be one of the leading contenders for the PTI ticket along with Ilyas Mehraban and Ali Awan. There are other aspirants for the PTI ticket, but they don’t stand much of a chance.
The PTI Chairman Imran Khan had won the NA-53 seat in the July 25 general election by polling 92,891 votes. Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the runner-up with 44,314 votes. PPP’s Syed Sibt Ul Haider Bukhari secured 17,970 and MMA’s Mian Mohammad Aslam 6,745 votes to be placed third and fourth in the contest.
Saifullah Niazi had formally applied for the PTI ticket for NA-53 for contesting the July 25 election.
It was learnt that Saifullah Niazi was encouraged to file his nomination papers for NA-53 when he came to know that Prime Minister Imran Khan had mentioned to the party’s parliamentary board to include his name among the prospective candidates. Otherwise, he may not have pushed his candidature as he didn’t want to create any issue for the party leadership.
Saifullah Niazi had joined the PTI in June 1996 soon after Imran Khan founded the party. He was among the earliest members of the party and has remained loyal to Imran Khan during the past 22 years. He served as a polling agent for Imran Khan when he contested the 1997 general election for the then lone National Assembly seat from Islamabad and lost. He has been a resident of Islamabad since 1977 and an active participant in all party activities.
The PTI activists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa noted that no other aspirant for the party ticket was more deserving than Saifullah Niazi due to his sacrifices for the party. They said awarding the PTI ticket to Saifullah Niazi would send a strong message that the party leadership valued the work of committed workers and recognized their services for the PTI’s cause.