ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) workers, mainly from its minority wing, have expressed concern over the award of ticket to Dr Ramesh Vankwani on the grounds that he had been shifting sides during the elections in the past two decades.

He was member of the previous National Assembly from the platform of PTI and prior to it he was in the PML-N, whereas all the other names nominated in the list have been longstanding party workers.

The other names in the list signed by PPP Parliamentarians Secretary General Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari are Lal Chand Ukrani, Imran Afique Athwal, Naseeb Chand, Jaffar George, Basroo Jee, Adven Masih and Beari Lal.

While Mr Bokhari was not available for comments on the nomination of Dr Vankwani among the top three in the list, a senior official of the party said this practice was common on general seats too.

Parties want to attract electables and prominent personalities within their ranks, the official said.

However, the official added that the list was issued by the party on Dec 23 and a day earlier an article was published by Dr Vankwani about astrology and equating Mr Asif Ali Zardari with the ‘Lion and the Sun’.

The article read: “The victory in the upcoming elections to be held on the eighth day of the second month of the year 2024 with root number 8, is predicted for a politician whose root number relates to 8 and 2, as per Vedic astrology. When I analysed all the above predictions, traits and astrology, the name of renowned senior politician Asif Ali Zardari echoed in my mind; his zodiac sign is Leo; his birth date is July 26 with the root number 8, and his birth year is 1955 with the summation of 2.”

Over the query of awarding ticket to Dr Vankwani, Chaudhary Rashid, spokesperson for Fafen, said this was not a violation of law and there was no legal binding on political leaders to choose suitable candidates for their parties. However, he added, democracies within the political parties need to have some norms and should be strong.

While responding to a query, Dr Vankwani said he did not join the PPP for any other purpose but to serve his community who were facing serious challenges including persecution at the hands of local influentials.

“I was called by Asif Ali Zardari sahib and PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and they wanted me to represent the PPP as a Hindu in the parliament,” Dr Vankwani said.

He had also filed nominations for the general seat from NA-241 Clifton in Karachi.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2024

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