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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Saturday expressed confidence that its candidate Dr Arif Alvi will win the presidential election comfortably.

A meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan discussed input from MPAs from the four provinces and decided that the PTI would contest the election on Sept 4 with full zeal.

Later briefing the media at the Banigala residence of Imran Khan, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said: “Dr Arif Alvi will become the president of Pakistan as the PTI has the support of the required number of voters.”

He said the PTI enjoyed the support of its allies — the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Pakistan Muslim League-Q, Balochistan Awami Party and Grand Democratic Alliance.

“The name of Dr Arif Alvi is final and there is no objection from any side over his nomination,” he said.

Senators Aurangzeb Khan, Sajjad Turi and Momin Khan Afridi join Imran Khan’s party

Mr Chaudhry said that a parliamentary board had been established by the PTI for the by-elections of national and provincial assemblies to be held in October.

He said the party had decided to call applications from candidates interested in contesting the by-elections.

Mr Chaudhry said: “The prime minister had taken historic and unprecedented decisions in the recent cabinet meetings, which helped saving millions of rupees.

He said the prime minister has inspired the whole cabinet by setting precedents and surrendering his discretionary powers.

“Imran Khan was the role model for the entire cabinet.”

He said the government had decided to launch two new channels of PTV, one dedicated to sports, except cricket, and PTV Sports shall be rebranded as PTV Cricket. “The second channel would be dedicated to children under the age of sixteen.”

He said the PTI government had already abolished political censorship from Radio Pakistan and Pakistan Television, but did not elaborate.

The minister said he would give a detailed briefing about advertisements and the government monopoly in this regard would be ended.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Chaudhry Sarwar, Mahmoodur Rasheed, Dr Arif Alvi, Qasim Suri, Amir Kiyani, Iftikhar Durrani, Yar Mohammad Rind, Khusro Bakhtiar and other PTI leaders attended the meeting.

The PTI’s confidence is due to several factors, including visible fragmentation among the opposition parties and the fresh support extended by parliamentarians belonging to the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

Senators from the former Fata Aurangzeb Khan, Sajjad Turi, Momin Khan Afridi and former MNA Nasir Khan and Mirza Mohammad Ayub formally announced to join the PTI following a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday.

They reposed confidence in the PTI’s leadership and manifesto and resolved to play their role in bringing change. Imran Khan welcomed them into the party.

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and Senator Haji Fida were also present on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2018