ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has decided to field the same candidates – Asad Umar, Raja Khurram Shahzad, and Ali Nawaz Awan – for upcoming by-polls in Islamabad, who were elected during the 2018 general elections.
Central Secretary General Asad Umar and Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz filed their nomination papers for NA-54 and NA-52, respectively, on Tuesday, whereas Ali Nawaz Awan would submit nomination papers for NA-53 on Wednesday (today).
Moreover, PTI chief Imran Khan will address public meetings through video links till his recovery from a bullet injury during a rally in Wazirabad last year. Asad Umar, while talking to Dawn, said the party had nominated former MNAs as candidates for by-elections scheduled in March. The PTI leader said all candidates will run campaigns by themselves and as they had already won the 2018 general elections there would not be any difficulty to win these seats again, with the support of Islamabad’s residents.
While replying to a question, Asad Umar said the popularity of PTI had increased with the passage of time. “It is a wrong impression that PTI has been losing its popularity. Fact is that all the opinion polls and surveys have shown that our popularity has been increasing,” he claimed.
Asad Umar says meeting at end of Feb to decide about Imran’s participation in polls campaign
He said that the main issue, during by-elections, was to bring voters out of their houses as usually low turnout was observed in by-elections. “If we manage to bring out voters from their houses we will win the by-election with a huge margin,” he said.
Speaking about the participation of Imran Khan in the campaign, Asad Umar said that the party has decided that the party chairperson will address the public meeting in person after full recovery from leg wounds.
“A review meeting will be held by the end of the current month to decide whether Mr Khan will address the public meetings in person. It is possible that he would address some meetings in the flesh and some through video links,” he said.
Ali Awan told Dawn that although he will submit nomination papers on Wednesday (today), he was not sure if by-elections would be held on the scheduled date.
Meanwhile, during an event concerning Insaf Doctors Forum’s membership drive, Asad Umar said Pakistan was currently passing through a “historic phase”. Mr Umar said that the government was using different tactics to defer the polls; however, they cannot run anymore from the elections.
He urged the nation that it was not a war of one political party but a war for the country’s future; hence everyone should play their due role to get rid of the “hungry selfish group once and for all”.
He said that the government sensed the gravity of the situation so they resorted to “fascist tactics”. He was referring to the arrest of PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. He said that Parvez Elahi’s house was raided and a case of sedition was filed against PTI leader Shandana Gulzar, which showed that the “imported government” was scared.
The PTI leader said threats were being hurled that polls would not be held within the stipulated 90 days. He advised the government members to stop talking about breaking the Constitution and come to the field and face the PTI in the elections.
Talking about the economic meltdown, Asad Umar said that the country’s financial situation cannot be improved until the election was held because those “who seized power through a foreign conspiracy were responsible for the current mess up”. The government has neither the ability nor the capacity to pull the country out of these prevailing crises, he claimed.
Asad Umar said that the mission of IMF was in Pakistan presently, but “strange stories were being told on TV about the economic crisis”. The government shifted the blame on Imran Khan-led government but the situation on the ground during the tenure of Imran Khan spoke otherwise, he claimed, adding that the economy was “booming, remittances witnessed considerable spike, while industrial output and crops’ produce were exemplary”.
Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2023
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