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MURREE:Unlike in other parts of Punjab, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in NA-57 and PP-6 has ignored newcomers from other parties and awarded tickets to workers who have been affiliated with the PTI for a long time.

The PTI did not give a ticket to Ghulam Murtaza Satti, the only politician to defeat former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as a PPP candidate in 2002, who joined the PTI a year ago allegedly on the assurance that he would receive a ticket for the National Assembly constituency.

Sources said Mr Satti has been offered a party ticket for the PP-7 (Kahuta) constituency, but is planning to contest the National Assembly elections as an independent.

Instead, the PTI has awarded a ticket to Prof Sadaqat Abbadi, who has been affiliated with the party since 1997 and was the president of the PTI’s northern Punjab chapter.

Mr Abbasi won 48,000 votes as the PTI candidate against the former prime minister in 2013, while Mr Satti won 44,000.

The PTI also refused to award a ticket to Sardar Saleem Khan, a former town nazim from the PML-Q who joined the PTI in 2015.

In 2013, he ran as a joint PPP-PML-Q candidate for a provincial assembly seat but won only 23,000 votes, compared to PML-N’s winning candidate Raja Ishfaq Sarwar, who won 53,000. Javed Iqbal Satti, also from the PML-Q, was also refused a PTI ticket.

Instead, party loyalist retired Maj Latasab Satti, who has been affiliated with the PTI since 2008 and was the president of the party’s Kotli Sattiyan tehsil chapter and deputy coordinator for NA-56 – now NA-62 – for PTI leader Imran Khan.

He was also a nazim of the Pattiyan union council, and came in third in election to a provincial assembly seat in 2013, with 21,000 votes. Despite being refused a party ticket at the time, he remained loyal to the PTI.

Sadaqat Abbasi, the National Assembly candidate, is from Murree, while Latasab Satti is from Kotli Sattian. It is tradition in Murree for the National Assembly and provincial candidates to be from separate tehsils. However, the PML-N has awarded both tickets to candidates from the Murree tehsil and ignored Kotli Sattiyan, giving the PTI an edge as far as the party tickets are concerned.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2018