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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Friday announced the names of its candidates for national and provincial assembly seats by accommodating a large number of newcomers who recently joined the party from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

So far the party has fielded 173 candidates for 272 National Assembly seats and 290 for 427 seats of the provincial assemblies.

As there was growing resentment among PTI’s diehard workers and leaders who have not been given party tickets, PTI chairman Imran Khan in an attempt to pacify them issued a video message telling them that party “ticket is not everything”.

Spokesman Fawad Chaudhry says 45 per cent of those who have joined party recently have been given tickets

Interestingly, Mr Khan will contest elections from five different constituencies of the National Assembly — NA-53 Islamabad, NA-35 Bannu, NA-95 Mianwali, NA-131 Lahore and NA-243 Karachi. This time Mr Khan has made some change in his strategy by deciding to contest the polls from Islamabad (NA-53) and Karachi (NA-243) instead of NA56-Rawalpindi from where he had won the 2013 elections.

Almost 90pc tickets have been given for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assembly seats, as 81 candidates have been fielded against a total of 99 provincial assembly seats. For 297 seats of Punjab Assembly, 186 tickets have been awarded. Twenty-three tickets have been awarded for 51 seats of the Balochistan Assembly while only 21 candidates have received party tickets for the 130 seats of the Sindh Assembly.

According to PTI’s spokesman Fawad Chaudhry, it was the first phase of allotment of tickets and tickets for remaining seats of the national and provincial assemblies will be awarded in the second phase that is likely to be announced on June 13.

PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi will contest the polls from his home constituency (NA-156) in Multan. Similarly, the PTI spokesman, Fawad Chaudhry, got the party ticket for NA-67 constituency of Jhelum.

Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Pervez Khattak and PTI firebrand leader Murad Saeed have been given tickets for NA-25 (Nowshehra) and NA-4 (Swat), respectively.

Abdul Aleem Khan will again contest from his hometown Lahore (NA-129) from where he had been defeated by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate Shazia Mubasshar in the last general elections.

Ghulam Sardar Khan of Taxila has got two tickets for national assembly seats NA-59 (Attock) and NA-63 (Chakwal). One of the PTI’s founding members Amir Mehmood Kiyani has been fielded from NA-61 constituency of Rawalpindi.

Dr Yasmeen Rashid who had lost the last general elections against Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of former premier Nawaz Sharif, will contest the upcoming polls from NA-125 constituency of Lahore. Another party leader, Ijaz Chaudhry, will fight for NA-133 seat from Lahore.

PTI’s frontline leader, Shafqat Mehmood, has got party ticket for NA-130 seat of Lahore this time though he had won from NA-126 constituency in PML-N’s stronghold in the last general elections.

PTI deputy secretary will face former Defence Minister Khawaja Asif in NA-73 Sialkot.

Some other prominent faces who got PTI tickets are Omar Ayub Khan, Usman Khan Tarakai, Tahir Sadiq, Abrarul Haq, Nazar Mohammad Gondal, Nadeem Afzal Gondal, Ishaq Khakwani, Sardar Talib Nakai Raza Hayat Hiraj and Ahmed Yar Hiraj.

Omissions

Some of the frontline leaders who have not been given PTI tickets include ex-provincial minister KP Shaukat Yousufzai, ex-MNA Ali Mohammad Khan, Firdaus Ashiq Awan and Sheryar Afridi.

In his statement, the PTI chief said those who could not get party ticket should not be disappointed. “Ticket is not everything,” he said in his video message to those who were not given party tickets.

“Today party’s parliamentary board announced tickets. That was a difficult task as from more than 500 aspirants, party candidates were selected,” he added.

He urged party leaders and workers not to get disappointed and focus on the upcoming polls.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2018