PTI ignores party’s old guards from Lahore in awarding tickets


—Workers express resentment over awarding tickets to turncoats

—Old guards including Yasir Gillani, Allama Iqbal’s grandson Waleed Iqbal ignored

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is once again in hot water within its own ranks in wake of awarding of tickets to the turncoats instead of the old guards and loyalists of the party. It has been learnt through reliable sources that most of the party workers in Lahore at the grass root levels have threatened to leave the party because of poor selection criteria for awarding the tickets in the metropolis.

PTI’s parliamentary board has issued party tickets to candidates to contest on all 14 constituencies of the National Assembly (NA) and 22 tickets to candidates out of 30 seats of provincial assembly from the provincial capital, Lahore.

It has been observed that PTI has come up with a weak lineup for Lahore, which is considered a stronghold of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N). The PML-N grabbed 12 out of 13 seats of National Assembly and 22 out of 25 seats of the provincial assembly in the last general elections of 2013 from Lahore. The PTI could manage to win 1 NA and three provincial assembly seats from Lahore in 2013.

It has been observed that a strong resentment was shown by the local cadre of PTI from the first constituency of Lahore (NA-123) as the party ignored one of the old guards of PTI Syed Yasir Gillani and did not allot him a ticket for the first provincial assembly seat of Lahore (PP-144) that falls under NA-123 while preferring a turncoat Khalid Mehmood Gujjar who joined the party just few months ago.

“If the party wants to grab this seat, then it should allot ticket to Gillani who knows each and every area of the constituency and he has been standing with Imran Khan since 1996 and it would be really unfortunate if an outsider replaces him,” Ibrahim Numberdar, the candidate for chairmanship from Union Council 1 in last local body’s election, said while talking to Pakistan Today.

He further said that all the PTI’s UC chairmen ticket holders have passed a unanimous resolution today in the favour of Gillani urging the party high commands to review its decision or else their support for the party in the elections may be withdrawn.

He was of the view that Khalid Gujjar contested his last local bodies election just two years ago against the PTI and now the same party has awarded him the ticket. The party has also awarded ticket to an outsider Mehar Wajid Azeem for NA-123 despite the fact that party’s candidate Mian Hamid Zaman lost the election with a margin of 60,000 votes in 2013 for being an outsider.

Some insiders told this scribe that former Governor Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar played a key role in awarding the tickets from this constituency.

Moreover, another old guard of the party Waleed Iqbal, who is the grandson of national poet Allama Iqbal has also been ignored this time around by the parliamentary board as he does not belong to the camp of Abdul Aleem Khan who conducted interviews of the candidates from this part of the province. Iqbal represents the loyalists and ideological workers of the party from Lahore while he has also served as the president of Lahore chapter of PTI in the past.

PTI’s Central Punjab President Aleem Khan said that we have given tickets on merit and all those are party’s assets who couldn’t get the party ticket and ideological workers would not leave the party for not getting tickets. “The list of aspirants was very long and someone has to give sacrifice definitely and these all would remain our asset and would work diligently to bring change in the country under the leadership of Imran Khan,” he said.

It is pertinent to mention here that party’s Information Secretary Fawwad Chaudhry has already claimed that PTI gave 45 per cent tickets to the newcomers.