LAHORE: Along with other districts of Punjab, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has awarded party tickets to its candidates from Lahore for the upcoming Punjab Assembly polls, currently scheduled for May.
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 PP173.
Diwan Ghulam Mohiud Din, a former PTI ticket-holder from NA124, who lost to PMLN’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in 2018 by-polls, has been fielded from PP147, the seat from where Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman has been consecutively winning since 2002 while it was PP141.
Pioneer member of PTI Yasir Gilani has been awarded a ticket from PP144, whereas Asif Bhinder, a relative of the late Arif Bhinder, former advocate general, has been awarded a ticket from PP145. Abdul Kareem Khan has been awarded a ticket from PP148, a part of Shalamar Town.
Mian Aslam Iqbal (PP170), Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed (PP168), Sarfaraz Khokhar (PP166), and Malik Nadeem Bara (PP167) 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 PP169.
Khalid Gujjar has been awarded a ticket from PP165, whereas three-time MPA Chaudhry Muhammad Mansha Sindhu has been fielded from PP163.
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 (PP159), Zubair Niazi (PP172), Mehr Wajid Azeem (PP171), Haider Majeed (PP160), Ammar Bashir Gujjar (PP161), Ahmar Bhatti (PP164), and Khalid Gujjer (PP165).
Former Vice Chairman WASA Sheikh Imtiaz has been fielded from PP155 by PTI, whereas former TEVTA chairman Hafiz Farhat has been awarded a ticket from PP157.
Meanwhile, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry have lost the chance to become chief minister of Punjab after PTI Chairman Imran Khan denied provincial assembly tickets to them.
In this way, so far the main figures of PTI who seem in the race for the slot of Punjab CM in case PTI wins the provincial assembly elections include party President Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, former Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Mian Aslam Iqbal and Mian Mehmoodul Rasheed.
Talking in a TV programme, Fawad Chaudhry stated he was ‘displeased’ over the denial of ticket but the decision had been made.
To a question if he would be candidate of CM from PTI, he stated it was the decision that had to be decided at the level of party chairman.
He added he would advise the party chairman not to announce the name of CM’s candidate publicly before polls, even if it was Sardar Usman Buzdar or anyone else.
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