Though it is welcoming turncoats from Bilawal Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) is also worried about losing its leaders.
Sources in the PTI say that the leadership is seeking assurance on affidavits from applicants for party tickets that they will not join another party in case they are refused the tickets.
The PTI has asked all those who have applied for tickets to contest in the elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies to submit assurances that they will not oppose the party decision on the allocation of tickets.
All applicants have submitted their affidavits to the party office on stamp paper worth Rs100, stating that they would not oppose the party decision, leave the PTI, or start a campaign against its candidates.
A senior party leader says the party is divided in different groups and that the leadership wanted to take a decision on awarding tickets without pressure from any group.
“We submitted the affidavit to the party along with Rs50,000 fee for a Provincial Assembly ticket and Rs100,000 for a ticket for the National Assembly,” he said.
Another party leader said that assurances in writing would not be effective as the party was divided in three or four groups in main cities such as Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
He said that the local leaders had already started campaigning against Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, a close aide of Imran Khan, who has been announced to contest the elections on two seats in Rawalpindi city, while Imran Khan would contest from the cantonment areas.
“A former office-bearer of PTI Punjab north is running a separate campaign through his supporters in the cantonment areas against party leaders as he was refused a ticket,” the party source said.
He added that the party would be divided further in the four districts of Rawalpindi division and Islamabad if tickets are given to newcomers.
“In Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the PTI only managed to bring Punjab Assembly member Shehryar Riaz, who had no worth in his constituency while in the ruling PML-N, due to his behaviour with party workers,” he said.
“There will be no issue on the National Assembly seats as two of the seats will be contested by Sheikh Rashid and one by Imran Khan. People will fight for the Provincial Assembly seats,” he said.
In Punjab north, the party conducted interviews of more than 382 aspiring candidates for the assemblies from the eight districts from Sargodha to Attock, including the twin cities.
As many as 17 candidates appeared for Sargodha’s National Assembly (NA) constituency and 52 for the Provincial Assembly.
Six applied for the NA ticket in Khushab and 25 for the Provincial Assembly, and three candidates applied for NA seats in Chakwal and 19 for the Punjab assembly.
In Rawalpindi, 30 candidates have applied for NA seats and 141 applications were received for Punjab Assembly seats.
A total of 13 women have applied for tickets from north Punjab.
PTI formed a five-member committee to conduct interviews of the candidates.
The committee is led by PTI Punjab north president Amir Kiani and comprises Attaullah Shadikhel, Haroon Hashmi, Qazi Ahmed Akbar, and Raja Tariq.
The committee will send its report to the parliamentary board regarding basic information about the candidates and their loyalty towards the party.
If the candidate comes from another party, the report will also contain past allegations against them.
Kiani has said that the party had sought assurance from candidates in writing in order to avoid grouping within the party on the issue of tickets.
He said that Imran Khan and the parliamentary board would take the final decision for awarding tickets.
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