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MANSEHRA: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf local government members in Balakot have announced to field their own independent candidate if the party awards ticket to a newcomer or from the three families dominating the politics of the tehsil since long for the general elections on PK-54 constituency.

“We want to make it clear to the party high-ups that if the ticket is awarded to any newcomer or from three big families, we will not support him in the general elections, and instead we will field our own contender,” Mushtaq Khan, the district councillor, told a news conference in Malkandi area of Kaghan valley the other day.

A group of PTI workers and local government representatives led by Mr Khan and PTI tehsil councillor Ami Shah held a meeting before the press conference and decided not to support any contender who only joined the party to avail party ticket for PK-54 constituency.

“We have been witnessing that the chief minister has been assigning special tasks related to New Balakot City housing project and Suki Kanari dam to a non-party personality,” said Mr Shah.

He said the three families had been dominating politics of Balakot for last five decades, and that they would not allow the PTI to award ticket on PK-54 to any member of these families.

It is to mention here that families of former federal minister Syed Qasim Shah, former senator Syed Muzamal Shah and incumbent federal minister for religious affairs Sardar Mohammad Yousuf have been dominating the Balakot politics for a long time.

Ami Shah said: “PTI should award ticket to any diehard worker for the large interest of the party otherwise we are free to decide our future line of action.”

Meanwhile, PTI senior district vice president Basharat Gujjar, who also attended the meeting and press conference, rejected the claims of Mr Khan and Mr Shah, and said they were the soldiers of Imran Khan and would follow his policies and nominations to strengthen his hands.

He said the party selection board would award ticket to such a person who could secure seat for the party.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2017