RAWALPINDI: Disgruntled PTI leader retired Col Ajmal Sabir Raja on Friday announced to contest the election from NA-63 as an independent candidate.

Meanwhile, PTI candidate for PP-15 Shehryar Riaz withdrew his nomination papers after his party refused to allocate him a ticket.

Mr Raja along with his panel appeared before returning officers and informed them that they would contest the elections as independent candidates. Many other candidates also withdrew their papers as the deadline ended at 4pm.

Mr Raja told Dawn that he decided to contest as an independent after the PTI did not award him a ticket. “The PTI Ideology Group will face those who have been allotted tickets by the party,” he said.

Lashing out at PTI chief Imran Khan, he said Mr Khan was supporting inherited politics within the party as he had given two tickets to Ghulam Sarwar Khan for NA-59 and NA-63.

He said he had done a lot for the party in time of need but was ignored by the leadership. He pledged to win the elections with a thumping majority. Mr Raja said Chaudhry Ameer Afzal and Malik Waheed would also contest the elections from PP-10 and PP-12 as independent candidates.

Moreover, Shehzad Khan and Malik Qasim Shehzad have withdrawn their nomination papers in favour of Muhammad Basharat Raja.

Similarly, Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s candidate for PP-18 Ghulam Ali Khan also withdrew his nomination papers after his party chief Dr Tahirul Qadri announced not to participate in the general elections.

Former MPA Shehryar Riaz, who left the PML-N and joined PTI a few days ago, was not given ticket by the PTI. He had joined the party on assurance that he would be given ticket for a provincial assembly seat. Mr Riaz wanted to contest from his home constituency of PP-18 but he was asked by the party to file papers for PP-15. But at the eleventh hour, the PTI allotted the ticket for PP-15 to Umer Tanveer Butt.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2018