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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leadership spent a busy day on Tuesday finalising the candidates for the remaining constituencies and reviewing the complaints submitted by party workers against the award of tickets to controversial persons and turncoats in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In another development, the PTI, which had previously called for changing the top bureaucrats and heads of a number of institutions, has now asked caretaker Prime Minister retired Justice Nasirul Mulk to change KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra for allegedly interfering in political affairs in the province.

Talking to Dawn, PTI information secretary Fawad Chaudhry claimed that the party had already reviewed most of the petitions it had received against the decisions of the parliamentary board to award tickets in some constituencies and also made decisions on them. He disclosed that the party had changed candidates in “some” constituencies. He, however, said the PTI would announce the names of all its candidates on Thursday (tomorrow).

Imran Khan asks caretaker PM to change KP governor

Mr Chaudhry expressed the hope that with the announcement of the final list, all the controversies would be resolved. When his attention was drawn to the fact that a sizeable number of party activists were still holding a protest sit-in outside the Banigala residence of Imran Khan, he said that it was not possible to satisfy each and every person in the party.

Another senior party leader Ishaq Khakwani, when contacted, claimed that most of the complaints were not of “serious nature”.

“There was no pertinent point of dissent or anything concrete in the complaints,” he said, adding that in most of these petitions, the complainants had claimed tickets merely on the basis of their long association with the party. He, however, admitted there were a few genuine complaints which, according to him, had been resolved.

In reply to a question, Mr Khakwani, who himself is a candidate for a National Assembly seat from Vehari in southern Punjab, said that the party leadership had preferred clean and “experienced” people during selection of the candidates. He admitted that the party had given tickets to some of the “political opportunists”, but defended the act by stating that “election is a game of having electables”.

Responding to a question about resentment in the party’s Gujrat chapter over the leadership’s decision of having a seat adjustment with the PML-Q, he claimed that those against this adjustment were in a minority.

Meanwhile, PTI chairman Imran Khan has written a letter to the caretaker prime minster, asking him to remove the KP governor and all the bureaucrats appointed by the previous PPP and PML-N governments in Sindh and Punjab.

In his letter, a copy of which is released to the media, Mr Khan has drawn the attention of the prime minister to “the questionable role being played by the KP governor who continues to hold financial administrative power over the area that was Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and who was the secretary general of the PML-N”.

“As he continues to intervene in the political affairs of that area — especially through controlling the financial purse strings — and as he continues to play a partisan role in the policies of the entire KP, especially in what was Fata, he should be removed immediately. Otherwise, a big question mark will be cast over elections being held in that area,” the PTI chief writes in the letter.

Similarly, he alleges that the “partisan bureaucrats” are actively threatening the holding of fair and free elections by covertly seeking to influence the outcome.

Mr Khan says that the district administrations in Sindh and Punjab continue to be filled with the PPP and PML-N appointees and “they are ensuring that there is no level-playing field for all political parties in the upcoming elections in their provinces”.

“The caretaker governments are moving at an extremely slow pace — if at all — to rectify this situation in order to ensure fair and free elections,” he adds.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2018