PTI expels Farooq Bandial only hours after welcoming him following social media backlash

Published May 31, 2018
A photo of PTI Chairman Imran Khan with Farooq Bandial. — Photo: Twitter
A photo of PTI Chairman Imran Khan with Farooq Bandial. — Photo: Twitter

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday welcomed Farooq Bandial to the party only to expel him a few hours later following a heavy backlash on social media directed at the new entrant's criminal past.

Farooq Bandial, who hails from Punjab's Khushab district, was handed a death sentence by a Special Military Court in 1979 for committing "armed dacoity" at the house of film actress Shabnam in Gulberg area of Lahore.

The headline of a news clipping from Dawn's edition of October 24, 1979, reads: "Five to die for dacoity at Shabnam's house". Farooq Bandial has been named in the story as one of the convicts.

Bandial had joined PTI after meeting party chairman Imran Khan earlier today. A photo is also doing rounds on social media in which Bandial can be seen standing next to the PTI chairman.

Hours after the news broke of him joining the party, however, a large number of people took to social media to criticise PTI for accepting a "convicted criminal" into the party's ranks.

According to some reports, which could not be immediately verified, the death sentences handed over to Bandial and his accomplices were later commuted by General Ziaul Haq after the accused pressured Shabnam and her family into pardoning them.

Shabnam, the poster girl of Lollywood in the 1970s, left Pakistan for her native Bangladesh in the late 1990s.

Meanwhile, some social media users claimed that Bandial was among the five men who allegedly assaulted the actress at her residence in 1978.

Following severe criticism on social media, PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry announced on Twitter that Khan had taken notice of the reports regarding Bandial and that a one-member committee comprising party leader Naeemul Haque would investigate the matter and present its findings to the chairman within three days.

"PTI will not compromise on ethical standards in any condition," read a statement from the spokesman.

Minutes later, Haque took to Twitter to announce that Bandial had been expelled from the party "with immediate effect".

Terming his entry into the party "unfortunate", Haque said: "We have no place for people with such record in our party."

"He should not be in any political party," he added.

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