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GUJRAT/OKARA: Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf on Monday withdrew two party tickets from Gujrat and as many from Okara.

The axe fell on Gujrat district president Chaudhary Ilyas for NA-71 and Zubair Ahmed Khan for PP-28.

Take a look: Ticket withdrawal within hours shows PTI’s ‘nervousness’

The party had issued six tickets for two NA and four PA seats of Gujrat district and kept two NA and as many PA constituencies open under a seat adjustment paradigm with the PML-Q. But now PTI’s candidates are in the run only in four constituencies- one NA and three PA seats including Syed Faizul Hassan Shah, NA 70 (Lalamusa-Dinga), Saleem Sarwar, PP 31 (Gujrat city), Mian Akhter Hayat, PP 32 (Dinga-Kharian) and ex-MPA Liaquat Ali Bhadar, PP 33 (Lalamusa).

However, sources said the senior party leadership has reviewed its earlier decision of nominating Mr. Ilyas for NA-71 and his name is now removed from the list as reports are rife that ex-MPA Hanif Awan, who is annoyed with the PML-N, is likely to be nominated as the PTI candidate from NA-71.

The PP-28 ticket of Zubair Tanda has apparently been withdrawn on the ‘pressure’ of the PML-Q that is demanding the seat for its nominee Shujaat Nawaz Ajnala.

In Okara, the PTI withdrew candidature from Sumsam Ali Bukhari (NA-141) and Chaudhry Muhammad Saleem Sadiq (PP-189) when they were canvassing in their respective areas on Sunday night, directing them to wait for further directions.

Both the candidates and their supporters were surprised as they were actively campaigning in their areas.

Three weeks ago, the PTI leadership had withdrawn the ticket for NA-141 from former MPA Chaudhry Masood Shafqat Rubera and awarded it to party’s provincial information secretary Sumsam Bukhari, a state minister in the previous PPP government. Rubera had sought review of the decision.

PTI’s candidate for PP-189 Saleem Sadiq also faced a similar situation, as his rivals, including PTI’s former ticket holder Chaudhry Muhammad Azhar – a former provincial minister in the PPP government - who had joined the party four years ago, was also an aspirant for the same seat.

But the leadership had cleared Sadiq, who had started campaign under party’s NA-142 candidate Rao Hassan Sikandar.

Ashraf Khan Sohna and Chaudhry Azhar along with other party workers had staged a sit-in at Banigala recently after which the party leadership, according to Mr Sohna, had assured them of reviewing the decision on PP-189 ticket.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2018