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Wednesday April 24, 2024

Imran Khan mulls expanding review committee after backlash over ticket distribution

In a bid to pacify unhappy aspirants, Imran Khan planning to include Qureshi and Umar in review committee, say sources

By Web Desk
April 22, 2023
PTI Chief Imran Khan addresses party workers via video link in this undated image. — Instagram/@imrankhan.pti
PTI Chief Imran Khan addresses party workers via video link in this undated image. — Instagram/@imrankhan.pti

After receiving heavy criticism from within the party and workers’ protest outside his Zaman Parks residence for denying tickets to heavyweight candidates for the upcoming elections in Punjab, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran has decided to include the party’s Vice President Shah Mehmood Qureshi and General Secretary Asad Umar in the committee tasked with reviewing the complaints of those aspirants who had missed out, sources told Geo News.

According to a list issued by the PTI on April 20, Senior PTI leaders Fawad Chaudhry, Qureshi, Hammad Azhar, Shahbaz Gill and some other seasoned politicians were not given tickets by the party.

It should be noted that the list was finalised after Khan interviewed the aspirant candidates in person to uphold merit in awarding party tickets.

The sources privy to the matter said that the process to review the complaints will begin today and will continue till April 26.

The Supreme Court had ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold general elections in the province on May 14.

In a bid to pacify unhappy aspirants, the PTI chairman was planning to include the seasoned politicians in the review committee, the sources told Geo News.

The PTI formed a four-member committee on Thursday to remove objections to the distribution of tickets.

The panel included Musaddiq Abbasi, Ijaz Chaudhary, Rai Hassan Nawaz, and Aoon Abbas.

The party finalised a list of 297 candidates earlier this week for the elections.

According to the list of candidates published on the PTI’s website, Raja Basharat, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Usmar Dar, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Hashim Dogar, Zain Qureshi and Usman Buzdar have been awarded party tickets.

The PTI has become the only major party to have formally started the electoral process. However, several senior party leaders were excluded from contesting the polls in Punjab which also irked the workers and supporters.

The hopes of Qureshi and Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry — if there were any — to become Punjab chief minister were also dashed after they were denied the provincial assembly tickets by the party chief.

Speaking on a private news channel earlier this week, Fawad expressed his "displeasure" over the denial of the ticket.

In response to a question, if he would be PTI’s candidate for CM, he stated it was the decision that had to be decided at the level of the party chairman.

Fawad also advised Khan not to announce the name of the chief minister’s candidate publicly before polls, even if it was Sardar Usman Buzdar or anyone else.

Who has been awarded tickets?

Along with other districts of Punjab, the PTI has awarded party tickets to its candidates from Lahore — also called Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) stronghold.

The major surprise this time is that former provincial minister Dr Murad Raas, who is also a close relative of Hamza Shehbaz, has not been awarded a ticket for the provincial assembly seat.

He could be the party’s choice for the National Assembly elections while two former ticket-holders of NA seats, including Dr Yasmin Rashid and Ghulam Mohiud Din Diwan, have been fielded as provincial assembly candidates.

Dr Yasmin Rashid had contested the 2013, 2017 by-polls, and 2018 general elections on the NA seat, twice against the Sharif family members directly, and even bagged more than 100,000 votes once but could not win.

She got elected to the Punjab Assembly seats reserved for women and also served as Punjab’s health minister. She has been awarded a ticket from PP-173.

Diwan Ghulam Mohiud Din, a former PTI ticket-holder from NA-124, who lost to PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in 2018 by-polls, has been fielded from PP-147, the seat from where Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman has been consecutively winning since 2002 while it was PP-141.

Pioneer member of PTI Yasir Gilani has been awarded a ticket from PP-144, whereas Asif Bhinder, a relative of the late Arif Bhinder, former advocate general, has been awarded a ticket from PP-145. Abdul Kareem Khan has been awarded a ticket from PP-148, a part of Shalamar Town.

Mian Aslam Iqbal (PP-170), Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed (PP-168), Sarfaraz Khokhar (PP-166), and Malik Nadeem Bara (PP-167) are among those who won the last general elections on a PTI ticket.

Besides, Mian Akram Usman, who won the last by-election held on the seat vacated by Abdul Aleem Khan, has also been awarded a ticket from PP-169.

Khalid Gujjar has been awarded a ticket from PP-165, whereas three-time MPA Chaudhry Muhammad Mansha Sindhu has been fielded from PP-163.

Interestingly, Shabbir Gujjar and Zaheer Abbas Khokhar, both former PTI ticket-holders and winners of July 2022, have not been awarded a ticket.

Barrister Hammad Azhar has also not been awarded a ticket, but he is the party’s likely choice for the National Assembly seat he won in 2018.

According to the list issued by the PTI, the candidates who have been awarded party tickets include Azam Khan Niazi (PP-159), Zubair Niazi (PP-172), Mehr Wajid Azeem (PP-171), Haider Majeed (PP-160), Ammar Bashir Gujjar (PP-161), Ahmar Bhatti (PP-164), and Khalid Gujjer (PP-165).

Former Vice Chairman WASA Sheikh Imtiaz has been fielded from PP-155 by PTI, whereas former TEVTA chairman Hafiz Farhat has been awarded a ticket from PP-157.