ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday started its election campaign in the federal capital by holding a workers’ convention.

A large number of party leaders and workers participated in the event held at the Convention Centre. They seemed excited as Imran Khan is also contesting the election from Islamabad.

Chaudhry Mohammad Khawar Gill from PWD Colony told Dawn that people wanted to see Imran Khan as the next prime minister because he had taken a clear stance against corruption and been claiming to eradicate corruption, the root cause of all problems in Pakistan.

“I believe that only Imran Khan can bring a change in the country. On the other hand, there are so many issues in the federal capital such as water scarcity, gas loadshedding during winters, lack of government schools and hospitals. But successive governments never bothered to address them. They spent the time on making money rather than providing relief to the citizens,” he said.

Mr Gill, who has done MBA and is doing business, added that politicians had made politics a business as they invested in elections and then started recovering the money along with huge profits.

“I am living in NA-52 constituency where the competition will be among PTI candidate Raja Khurram Nawaz, PML-N’s Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and PPP’s Afzal Khokhar. However, our candidate has more chances to win,” he said.

Another participant, Ibrahim Khan from Sector G-8, who runs a showroom of vehicles, said in his constituency (NA-53) there were many aspirants for the ticket due to which Imran Khan decided to himself contest for the seat.

“Now all those who were asking for the ticket such as Chaudhry Ilyas Mehrban and Amir Kiyani are supporting Mr Khan. This has not only removed the possibility of a division within the party but has also increased the chances of winning the seat due to the popularity of Mr Khan.”

He said former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the PML-N candidate while the PPP had fielded Sibtul Haider Bokhari.

He said the PML-N government had its own interests due to which issues faced by the residents of the federal capital could not be addressed during its tenure.

Maheen Khan said she was not a supporter of the PTI but had decided to vote for the party.

“Other parties such as PML-N and PPP have got chances to address public issues but they did nothing. Now we should give a chance to the PTI. However, if the PTI failed to address the issues, next time I will vote for some other party,” she said.

Salman Ahmed, a student of intermediate, said there was no doubt that the youth was in favour of Imran Khan and during the elections they would decide about the fate of the country.

He said Asad Umar remained active in the city during the last five years and now every resident knew him.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Najeebur Rehman Bugvi, who visited the venue to inspect the security arrangements, told Dawn that according to information provided by the PTI, workers of the party were to participate in the convention and the police were requested for security.

“Because of the current political and security environment, it has been decided to provide foolproof security to national leaders. As Imran Khan is also a national leader I decided to personally visit the venue and check the security. We will provide foolproof security to all political parties during the elections,” he said.

Heated arguments were exchanged between electronic mediapersons and PTI workers outside the venue as the latter asked the journalists to show their invitation cards.

Later, former MNA Asad Umar reached the spot and said he would look into the matter. PTI media head Iftikhar Durrani apologised to the journalists to resolve the issue.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2018