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SWABI: The local leaders have started manoeuvring to get Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf ticket for the by-election on PK-44, Swabi-II scheduled for Oct 14, after National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar quit the seat, sources in the ruling party told Dawn here on Monday.

Mr Qaisar had won the July 25 elections from NA-18, Swabi-I, and PK-44. He later relinquished PK-44 because there was intense pressure on him to retain the NA seat as the PTI badly needed MNAs to have a stable government in the centre, said the party leaders.

Now, who would be contesting from PK-44 on PTI ticket? Major retired Fida Hussain and former contesting candidate, Shah Wali, are among the strong contenders because they have rendered numerous sacrifices both for Mr Qaisar and the party.

However, insiders said former MNA Aqibullah Khan, who is brother of Mr Qaisar, is the top contender due to strong position of his brother in the party.

“There are various leaders, but in fact no one could match him (Aqibullah) because his brother enjoys great influence in the party circles, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” said a leader who remained very close to Mr Qaisar.

It has been learnt that Mr Wali has already met with various leaders of the party in different localities, telling them that Mr Qaisar had pledged with him before July 25 elections that in case of by-election he would be awarded the party ticket.

Similarly, Fida Hussain, PTI district general secretary, has also started his campaign to enlist the support of party workers and use them as pressure group in getting the ticket.

Mr Hussain, who also remained PPP district general secretary, has the credit to persuade many ANP and PPP leaders to join PTI and strengthen the party at the district level before the general elections.

Insiders said the big problem for Mr Qaisar was that he no longer remained in the KP government and thus could no longer dominate the party affairs in the province.

However, they said sanity demanded that the NA speaker gave chance to other leaders because such tactics could create disunity in the party.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2018