Embattled PTI faces ‘knockout’ at scrutiny stage

Published December 31, 2023
The combination photo shows PTI leaders Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Imran Khan and Parvez Elahi. — DawnNewsTV/File
The combination photo shows PTI leaders Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Imran Khan and Parvez Elahi. — DawnNewsTV/File

• Nominations of Imran, Qureshi, other bigwigs rejected; party cries foul; tribunals to decide appeals till Jan 10
• GDA leaders Zulfiqar, Fahmida Mirza; Akhtar Mengal, Sheikh Rashid, Alvi’s son, Ayaz Amir face rejection
• Nawaz, Shehbaz, Bilawal, Achakzai, Maryam, Khattak, Fazl, Siddiqui, Tareen, Awan, Siraj among those cleared

ISLAMABAD: In the initial phase of elections slated for Feb 8, the top leadership of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its allies has been knocked out of the polls race, as almost “90 per cent of nominations from important leaders” failed to stand the scrutiny exercise ended on Saturday.

Despite their failure to clear scrutiny at the initial stage, the PTI candidates have till Jan 3 to approach an appellate tribunal against the decision of the respective returning officer. The tribunals can adjudicate on these appeals till Jan 10.

Most of the candidates whose papers were rejected belong to PTI, which has fallen out of favour and is facing the full force of law for its involvement in May 9 riots. Its former chairman Imran Khan and key aide Shah Mehmood Qureshi among others are incarcerated or have gone underground.

The PTI also lost its electoral symbol ‘bat’ before it was returned by the Peshawar High Court.

Punjab

PTI founder Imran Khan’s nomination papers were rejected from NA-122 (Lahore) and NA-89 (Mianwali).

“Yes, Imran Khan’s no­mination papers to contest elections from NA-89 (Isakhel tehsil) have been rejected due to his conviction in the Toshakhana case and some dues liable to be paid by him,” Isakhel Assistant Commissioner Gh­­­u­lam Murtaza told Dawn. “This has been told to me by our Additional Deputy Commissioner (Gen­eral), who is the returning officer of NA-89. I am the RO of one of the PA constituencies falling under NA-89,” he added.

Imran Khan’s papers were also rejected from NA-122 (Lahore-VI) on account of his conviction and disqualification.

PTI Vice Chairman Qur­eshi’s nomination papers from Multan’s NA-150, NA-151, and PP-218 (as well as Tharparkar’s NA-214 in Sindh) were also rejected. His son Zain Qureshi and daughter Mehr Bano Qureshi also failed the scrutiny.

The nomination papers of ex-Punjab CM Parvez Elahi, his spouse Qaisara Bibi and son Moonis Elahi were rej­ected from constituencies in Chakwal, Tala­gang, Gujrat and Mandi Bahaud­din districts. In Chakwal, the nomination papers of columnist Ayaz Amir were also rejected.

According to reports, papers of all PTI candidates in Mianwali were rejected.

Amara Niazi, PTI women wing leader, and a candidate from NA-90, who was briefly taken into custody in front of the RO office, couldn’t appear bef­ore the RO and faced rejection of her papers.

In NA-125 (Lahore), the nomination papers of Jamshed Iqbal Cheema and his wife Mussarat Jamshed Cheema and Jameel Asghar Bhatti were rejected.

Similarly, Dr Yasmin Rashid in NA-130 and Hammad Azhar in PP-172 also faced rejection.

In Sialkot, the nomination papers of PTI leader Usman Dar’s mother Rehana Imtiaz Dar and her daughter-in-law Aruba Dar were also rejected from NA-71.

Fawad Chaudhry and Hiba Fawad in NA-61 (Jhelum), Zulfi Bukhari in NA-50 (Attock), Ali Asjad Malhi in NA-73 (Daska), Rai Hasan Nawaz in NA-203 (Sahiwal), and Ijaz Chaudhry in NA-127 met the same fate.

PTI ally Sheikh Rashid and his nephew Rashid Shafiq faced rejection from NA-57 and NA-56 in Rawalpindi.

In Sargodha division, the papers of the top-tier PTI leadership were rejected.

However, some low-profile PTI leaders’ papers were approved.

The nomination papers of PTI leader Dr Shabbir Ali Qureshi, former Punjab governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar, his wife Avnia Mustafa Khar, and Jamshed Dasti were rejected from various constituencies.

Papers of Maryam Nawaz were accepted and PTI’s Sanam Javaid were rejected from NA-119 (Lahore).

In the same constituency, PTI candidate lawyer Azhar Siddique and PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique’s papers were accepted.

On the other hand, the nomination papers of PML-N Supremo Nawaz Sharif were accepted from NA-130 (Lahore), followed by his daughter Maryam Nawaz whose papers were also approved from various constituencies of Lahore and Sargodha.

PPP Co-Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s papers were accepted for NA-127.

Javaid Hashmi, Jahangir Tareen, and Amir Dogar’s nomination papers were also accepted from NA-149. PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif’s nomination papers were accepted from NA-123 (Lahore) whereas Abid Sher Ali of PML-N, a close relative of the Sharif family, also saw his papers accepted for NA-102 (Faisalabad).

Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Nayab Ali, Tariq Fazl Chaudhry, Anser Aziz, Babar Awan, Khawaja Khaqan, Mian Muhammad Aslam, Zeeshan Naqvi, Imran Ashraf, Anjum Aqeel were among successful candidates, whose papers were accepted by the returning officers in Islamabad.

Sindh

PTI leader Haleem Adil’s papers were accepted, however.

In Sindh, the nomination papers of Dr Fahmida Mirza, her spouse Zulfiqar Mirza, President Arif Alvi’s son Awab Alvi, MQM leader Arshad Vohra, and PTI’s Firdous Shamim Naqvi were rejected.

The RO of NA-234 (Karachi Korangi-III) rejected the nomination papers of 27 out of total of 33 candidates, including MQM-P’s Moin Amer Pirzada and Sadiq Iftikhar, PPP’s Mohammad Ali Rashid, and former PTI MNA Faheem Khan. PML-N’s Saleem Zia was among the six candidates cleared from the same constituency.

Dr Fahmida Mirza, Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, and their son Hasnain Mirza’s papers were rejected from two NA and three provincial assembly seats from Badin.

The nomination papers of GDA nominee Mohammed Khan Junejo, who recently joined PML-F, were turned down from NA-209 (Sanghar-I) for allegedly submitting a fake degree.

Firdous Shamim Naqvi was disallowed whereas JI leader Naeemur Rehman was allowed to contest polls from NA-248 (Karachi Central-II). The nomination papers of former PTI lawmakers Alamgir and Khurram Sherzaman were also turned down from NA-241 and 236, respectively.

MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui was declared eligible to contest elections from NA-248 Central-II, NA-249 Central-III, and NA-250 Central-IV). Mustafa Kamal as well as Khawaja Izharul Hasan from NA-247 (Central-I) were also cleared.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif is running from NA-242 (Kemari-I) against MQM leader Mustafa Kamal, and PPP’s Qadir Khan Mandokhail.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Shehryar Afridi, Murad Saeed, Ali Mohammad Khan, Azam Swati, Sher Ali Arbab, Shandana Gulzar, Atif Khan, Fazil Hakim, Dr Amjad, Gul Zafar Khan, Anwar Zaib, Shehraz Tarakai, Shahid Khattak, Junaid Akbar, and Taimur Saleem Jhagra were among those whose papers were rejected.

At least 29 ex-lawmakers in KP could not clear the scrutiny stage. According to the data compiled by the PTI, the returning officers rejected the nomination papers of PTI provincial president Ali Amin Gandapur, former speaker Asad Qaiser, former KP Assembly speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, and Sher Afzal Marwat.

The papers were rejected as most were placed on the Schedule-IV of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

Kamran Bangash, Karim Khan, Akbar Ayub, former MNAs Noorul Haq Qadri, Iqbal Afridi, Arbab Amir Ayub and former MPAs Tufail Anjum and Muhammad Arif Ahmadzai were among the successful candidates.

Nawaz Sharif, Fazlur Rehman, Sirajul Haq, Aimal Wali Khan, Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, PTI-Parliamentarian chief Pervez Khattak and former CM Mahmood Khan’s papers were also accepted.

Balochistan

The nomination papers of ex-MPA of PkMAP Nasarullah Zerey, Senator Prince Agha Omer Ahmedzai, and ex-minister Khalid Langove, Malik Naseer Ahmed Shahwani of BNP-Mengal and BAP Senator Manzoor Ahmed Kakar were also rejected.

In Balochistan, BNP-Mengal President Akhtar Mengal, PTI Balochistan President Qasim Khan Suri, ex-governor Zahoor Ahmed Agha, BNP Awami President Mir Israrullah Zehri, PkMAP leader Nawab Ayaz Khan Jogezai, Khushhal Khan Kakar of newly formed Pashtunkhwa National Awami Party, Hazara Democratic Party President Abdul Khaliq Hazara also faced rejection.

According to the Election Commission, the nomination papers of Sardar Akhtar Mengal from NA-256- (Khuzdar) NA-264 (Quetta) and PB-20 (Khuzdar) were rejected. “Mengal’s nomination papers were rejected on the grounds of having Iqama of United Arab Emirates (UAE) which he did show in his nomination papers,” the returning officer said.

“Mostly nomination papers of candidates were rejected due to defaulter of utility and other bills which they have not paid for a long time,” sources told Dawn.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl, PkMAP Chairman Mehmood Achakzai, ex-CM Jam Kamal, Nawab Aslam Raisani, Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch, Sardar Muhammad Saleh Bhootani and many others were declared eligible to contest elections.

Khalid Hasnain in Lahore, Ishaq Tanoli in Karachi, Mohammad Ashfaq in Peshawar and Saleem Shahid in Quetta also contributed to this story.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2023

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