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Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz
Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz

CHAKWAL: Differences in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Chakwal chapter have deepened over award of ticket to Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz for PP-21 (Chakwal I), although he did not apply for it.

A graduate of Florida University, Mr Yasir, who joined PTI in 2013, runs a private school in the city.

He contested general election 2013 from PTI’s ticket for the National Assembly seat but could only get 48,000 votes against PML N’s Tahir Iqbal’s 129,000 and independent candidate Sardar Ghulam Abbas’ 100,100.

Mr Yasir is currently senior vice president of the party’s northern region.

Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz had not applied, but he was awareded ticket for PP-21

This time too Raja Yasir had applied for a ticket for NA-64 but as Sardar Abbas has rejoined the PTI a couple of weeks ago, the ticket for NA was given to him. The top leadership of the party accommodated Raja Yasir in PP 21, a constituency for which party has already had three candidates.

Chaudhry Ali Nasir Bhatti
Chaudhry Ali Nasir Bhatti

Chaudhry Ali Nasir Bhatti, Advocate Chaudhry Taimoor Ali Khan and Sheikh Waqar Ali Khan had applied for the ticket for PP-21. All three candidates were thinking that party would give ticket to anyone of them but they were left shocked on June 8 when party announced Raja Yasir as its candidate for PP-21.

Ali Nasir Bhatti and Chaudhry Taimoor Ali Khan have lodged an appeal against Raja Yasir’s nomination before a committee set up by PTI’s chief Imran Khan. A decision on their appeals is yet to be announced.

The resentment within the party came to the fore on last Sunday when almost all local leaders of PTI did not attend a ceremony organised by Raja Yasir at his spacious residence to welcome Sardar Ghulam Abbas in the party.

Ali Nasir Bhatti, Taimoor Ali Khan, Sheikh Waqar Ali Khan, Raja Munawar Ahmad, Nisar Qasim, Pir Shaukat Hussain Shah and Malik Akhtar Shahbaz were invited to the ceremony but they did not turn up.

Although Raja Yasir insists that scores of PTI’s workers attended the ceremony and the ceremony turned into a large public gathering, in fact majority of the participants belonged to Sardar Abbas Group.

Talking to Dawn, Advocate Chaudhry Taimoor Ali Khan said that Raja Yasir had made a commitment to him that the he would support his candidature for PP 21.

Chaudhry Taimoor Ali Khan
Chaudhry Taimoor Ali Khan

Taimoor Ali Khan vowed that if party retains Raja Yasir as its candidate for PP-21 he would not support him.

Ali Nasir Bhatti said that he had been doing politics in PP-21 for last seven years and contested 2013 elections and got 33,000 votes but he was dismayed by award of ticket to Raja Yasir.

In January by-election for this constituency Mr Bhatti was ignored by the party’s leadership as the ticket was given to Raja Tariq Afzal on the recommendation of Raja Yasir.

Since then Mr Bhatti and Mr Yasir have been running differences which have been deepened.

Sheikh Waqar Ali Khan also lambasted Raja Yasir for usurping the rights of other party leaders who were aspirants for PP 21.

Raja Munawar Ahma, a former MPA from Choa Saidan Shah, said he did not accept the entry of Sardar Abbas in the party and also rejected Tariq Afzal Kalas as party’s candidate for PP 22.

“Tariq Afzal is an alien to the people of tehsil Choa Saidan Shah and PP 22’s large area falls in this tehsil,” he regretted.

When contacted, Raja Yasir said that he never applied for the ticket of PP-21 but party decided to field him. “We all should accept party’s decision. If party revokes the decision on the appeals I will accept it,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2018