PTI’s Waleed Iqbal joins protesters over ‘unfair’ distribution of tickets

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–Former Lahore president unhappy with selection of ‘unseen faces’ on Aleem Khan’s request

ISLAMABAD: Grandson of national poet Allama Iqbal, Waleed Iqbal, on Saturday broke silence on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) ‘unfair’ distribution of tickets in Lahore for 2018 general elections that are due next month.

Addressing a press conference along with a large number of angry male and female workers, he said he is considered a face of the PTI in Lahore and therefore, workers are taunting him over the party’s choice of candidates who have been chosen to contest the polls.

“I have been hearing the taunts of these workers for the past three days,” he said, adding: “I have been president of the party from Lahore. However, the party tickets have been issued to the people whom I have never met or seen. I fulfilled all my responsibilities as the party’s ex-president in Lahore with the utmost sincerity.”

Explaining the objective of his press conference, he said was going to neither imitate Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) disgruntled leader Chaudhry Nisar nor any other loyalist like Zaeem Qadri, but his sole purpose is to point out discrimination against the genuine workers who have not been awarded the tickets. He clarified that he would neither part ways with PTI Chairman Imran Khan or the party.

He further pointed out that justice was not done to the party workers in Lahore. “I am raising my voice because workers are facing exploitation and discrimination. Lahore cannot remain silent on the unfair distribution of tickets in the city.” Iqbal said, admitting that the parliamentary board made serious mistakes. He added, “But the good thing is they are reviewing their decision now.”

Unlike PTI’s senior leaders Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Jehangir Tareen who exchanged allegations and severely criticised each other for the mess, Iqbal avoided open infighting of party leaders, avoiding to name the culprits.

Iqbal expressed his differences with PTI Central Punjab President Aleem Khan, stating serious reservations over his decision vis-à-vis tickets distribution.

In an apparent reference to Aleem Khan and other party leaders, he said these leaders have kept Imran Khan busy in examining files instead of focusing on electioneering.

He said PTI chief has taught everyone repeatedly to raise voice against injustice. Therefore, he said, “Chairman sahab, I request you to review the decision over complaints of your workers.”

He said senior party leader Qureshi had said that he was unaware of the list of ticket holders while Tareen also said that list of women ticket holders was unjust.

It is pertinent to mention here that PTI women wing is also facing fissures over the nomination of the party workers on reserved seats and the party’s active women workers on Friday surrounded Aliya Hamza, who is heading women campaign in different constituencies. They questioned her for removing active workers’ names and including unknown women in the party’s women-priority list. The disgruntled workers have joined Waleed Iqbal’s camp.

A large number of disgruntled party workers have camped outside Imran’s Bani Gala residence to protest the unfair distribution of tickets while Imran Khan announced on Friday that he would make the final decision in the next three days.