Imran Khan Distances Himself From Award Of Party Tickets For Upcoming Polls

The ECP says a candidate who is a member of one party and has submitted an affidavit to the effect with the commission cannot be allocated a symbol of another party 

Imran Khan Distances Himself From Award Of Party Tickets For Upcoming Polls

Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan has distanced himself from awarding party tickets for the upcoming polls.

He argued that the government had put such stringent restrictions on him that not a single document on candidates could be communicated to him, nor could any document make it out of jail to communicate decisions on the award of party tickets and that he could not verbally decide something like allotment of seats.

"I was not allowed to make decisions about the party tickets," Imran said, adding that the government had put such stringent restrictions that not a single paper could come out of jail.

"Under these restrictions, how can I decide on 850 party tickets? I don't know who got the ticket and who could not. I can't decide about 850 tickets verbally," Imran told the media on the sidelines of a hearing of his case at the Adiala Jail on Saturday. 

The statement came amid widespread criticism against party leaders for the 'wrong and unjustified' award of party tickets. The new leadership of PTI has been criticised by the party's second and third-tier leadership for awarding party tickets while [once again] ignoring party loyalists who stood their ground in the face of extreme pressure and brutal repression after Imran Khan's ouster from government and in the aftermath of May 9 incidents.

Sources in the PTI suggested there have been complaints from party loyalists who felt aggrieved about not being taken into confidence in the process of awarding tickets and other key decisions. 

They indicated further division within the party on the matter of awarding tickets.

There was also an impression that instructions from the party's supremo, Imran Khan, were being ignored by the group as some candidates desired to contest elections from both the provincial and national assembly. 

Party leaders Asad Qaiser, Shehryar Afridi, Ali Muhammad Khan and others - who were not given party tickets for either provincial and national assembly.

Political experts viewed that the party has a comparatively strong position in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and the bickering within the party could be due to the expectation of becoming Chief Minister in the upcoming set-up after the elections.

Plan-B stands for bait and switch? 

All Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidates have been provided with ticket certificates of a forward block of the party, PTI-Nazriati (ideologues).

The other day, PTI had published a list of candidates for the national and provincial assemblies who had been allotted party tickets. 

However, the announcement from PTI added that the candidates had been issued tickets from a little-known forward block, PTI-Nazriati.

The PTI candidates were directed to submit the certificates issued by PTI-Nazriati to the respective returning and deputy returning officers.

PTI-N chief distances himself from PTI

Meanwhile, PTI-Nazriati's listed chairperson, Asif Iqbal Dar, has distanced himself from PTI. 

He said that all those in leading positions in the party currently were corrupt and that he could not even speak with them. 

In a news conference in Lahore on Saturday, Dar accused the PTI of issuing fake tickets for his party to its members. 

"I am surprised from where are these tickets are being issued? I am not aware of where PTI candidates have secured tickets from PTI-N," he asserted, alleging that fake tickets of PTI-Nazriati are being issued.

A sample of the PTI-N ticket.

He added that the members of PTI-N contesting elections in 2024 are the same as those who contested the general elections in 2018 and that there had been no change in their list of candidates. 

Dar claimed that in just a few questions would disclose there is no transparency or honesty in PTI. 

On the issue of electoral symbol, Dar clarified that his party has contested on the symbol of a 'batsman' in the past rather than the 'bat' of the PTi. 

He urged the ECP to take action against the PTI. 

While he denied issuing tickets to PTI candidates, some people tweeted a purported agreement between the PTI led by Barrister Gohar Ali Khan and PTI-Nazriati led by Dar, according to which PTI candidates would be provided tickets of PTI-Nazriati.

ECP says papers of all such candidates to be rejected

Meanwhile, the issue was raised before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Candidates are required under the law to submit an affidavit to verify on oath their affiliation to a political party or otherwise to contest election on the symbol of that political party of which the candidate was a member, along with a certificate from the political party which certifies them as a member and confirms the constituency they are competing from on a ticket from the party.

The commission ruled that candidates who have indicated their allegiance to a party while filing nomination papers cannot contest from the electoral symbol of another party of which they are not a member or a party they have not formally joined while leaving their previous party.

"All such applications be rejected, accordingly, and be proceeded in accordance with the law, strictly in terms of the direction of apex court ibid," the ECP said.