GUJRAT: The much-awaited announcement of a seat adjustment between the PML-Q and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) was made in the form of former chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Saleem Sarwar Jaura of the PTI being declared joint candidates of the two parties from NA-69 and PP-31 Gujrat, respectively.

Former Punjab education minister and four-time MPA from Gujrat city, Mian Imran Masood, has withdrawn from the race in his ancestral constituency of PP-31 in favour of PTI’s Mr Jaura and vowed to support him.

The announcement was made at a joint press conference addressed by Mr Masood and Mr Jaura at Mian Akbar’s house here on Wednesday. PTI Gujrat’s disgruntled group leader and former ticket-holder from NA-105 (now NA-69), Afzal Gondal, and many other PTI old guards stayed away from the event.

Pervaiz, Saleem Jaura declared joint candidates for NA-69, PP-31

Talking to reporters, Mr Masood, who has contested at least seven consecutive elections from the city, said his party chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and PTI chief Imran Khan had decided to join hands to get rid of the “corrupt mafia” and it was the need of the hour for both parties to unite for defeating the PML-N. This is the reason he decided to withdraw from the elections race, he added.

He further said that it was a difficult decision for him, as his family had been doing politics from the city for over a century.

Mr Jaura, who was once a staunch opponent of the Chaudhrys of PML-Q and always opposed seat adjustments, said: “Whether I like it or not, I accept this arrangement with the PML-Q and will support Pervaiz Elahi on NA-69 more forcefully than even his own election campaign just for the sake of Imran Khan’s ideology as I prefer Mr Khan’s ideology over my own point of view.”

When a reporter reminded him of his earlier position on the PML-Q, he replied that he had put his personal opinion behind till July 25 so that Imran Khan could win.

As per the seat adjustment, the PTI has not fielded its candidates on NA-68 and NA-69, and PP-28, PP-29 and PP-30. Similarly, the PML-Q has not fielded candidates on NA-70 and NA-71 comprising Kharian and Sarai Alamgir tehsils and PP-31, PP-32, PP-33 and PP-34.

On Wednesday, the PTI aspirant from PP-28, whose name was removed from the list of party candidates on Saturday, claimed to have again won the party nomination. While talking to Dawn, he said that his name would be updated to the list of candidates within a few hours and he would receive the ticket on Thursday (today) in Lahore. The PTI however is yet to announce its candidates for NA-71 and PP-34 (Sarai Alamgir-Kharian) after it removed its district president Chaudhry Ilyas’s name for NA-71.

The PTI leadership has been under criticism for consistently changing its decisions on tickets in Gujrat at which party workers have been lodging protests for the last few days. Some disgruntled candidates have announced to contest as independents also.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2018

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