Marwat takes U-turn, says will continue PTI campaign in Sindh amid conflicting party statements

Published January 16, 2024
The combination photo shows PTI leaders Barrister Hamid Khan, Sher Afzal Marwat and Raoof Hasan. — Dawn/File
The combination photo shows PTI leaders Barrister Hamid Khan, Sher Afzal Marwat and Raoof Hasan. — Dawn/File

Hours after he announced “calling off” the party’s polls campaign in Sindh, PTI Senior Vice Chairman Sher Afzal Marwat on Tuesday said he would continue electioneering amid conflicting statements from senior PTI leaders.

In a post on social media platform X, he said: “Workers are right and I will continue campaigning for PTI in Sindh. I will not be distracted.”

The development comes hours after Marwat called off his campaign in Sindh, claiming that he was “attacked” by senior PTI leaders Raoof Hasan and Barrister Hamid Khan.

One of the counsels for former premier Imran Khan, Marwat was elevated to the position of senior vice president of the party in November. He has been at the forefront at a time when the majority of PTI’s core leadership is in hiding or has parted ways.

He has been catapulted into the spotlight over the past few months due to his fiery addresses at the party’s public events. On Sunday, he launched the party’s election campaign from Sindh.

However, PTI spokesperson Hasan, in an interview on Neo News Urdu last night, had said the party “does not own statements” issued by Marwat. “He does not reflect the party position and has no post within the PTI,” he stated.

Questioned about Marwat’s meetings with Imran in jail, Hasan had said the PTI founder was only allowed to meet his lawyers, sisters and spouse.

“To date, no political leader of the party has been allowed to meet him [Imran],” he had claimed, adding that “apart from me, none of the members of the party’s senior leadership have been given permission to meet Imran”.

Similarly, in a video widely being circulated on social media, senior PTI leader Barrister Hamid had said he didn’t “recognise” Marwat and rejected the claim that he was representing the party.

“There is no conflict within. There are two to three people who are sent and they try to create rifts within the party,” he had said, asserting that there was no fissure in the PTI.

These statements came after videos circulated online of Marwat casting aspersions on President Arif Alvi.

“Arif Alvi sahib is a wrong number. Alvi’s son had applied for the [PTI] ticket but I had opposed allotting him the ticket,” Marwat had said, claiming that the president had “conspired” against the party.

However, during a media talk outside Adiala Jail today, PTI senior leader Barrister Gohar Khan said Marwat was still a part of the party and would be contesting the February 8 elections from Lakki Marwat. He also urged party workers to refrain from getting into rifts.

‘Disheartened and dejected’

Earlier, while reacting to Raoof and Hamid’s statements in a post on X, Marwat said: “Keeping in view the statements against me by sick-minded people like Hamid Khan and Raoof Hasan, I am calling off my campaign in Sindh.

“Why these people are targeting me? Did I ever talk against them? I am so disheartened and feel so dejected,” he wrote, adding that the party was supposed to hold conventions in Sanghar and Nawabshah today but he had cancelled all the events after being “attacked” by the party’s senior leadership.

Marwat further said that he would not lead any rally and was leaving Sindh “half finished” until the matter was settled.

“Let Hamid Khan and Raoof Hasan muster courage and lead the public. Initially, you tried to take me out of the legal team and now you want me to leave the campaign. I leave the campaign field to you. Show your strength and courage,” he concluded.

In a separate tweet, Marwat called Hasan a “conspirator” and alleged that the latter was creating rifts in the party.

“He spoke against me a few times on electronic media. This time he has disputed the meeting with Imran on January 13, which was held in the presence of half a dozen lawyers, including Imran’s spouse, his sisters, Ejaz Buttar and Naeem Haider Panjotha. One can confirm this with these persons,” he said.

“This old devil has started this campaign to undermine the successful campaign of Sindh,” Marwat added.

It must be recalled that Marwat also got into a spat with two senior PTI leaders last year, exposing the shortcomings of the legal wing of the former ruling party.

Marwat had called Advocate Shoaib Sha­­heen a traitor and ac­­cused him of entering the PTI legal team with the backing of a couple of party leaders. He had also alleged that Shaheen had leaked their legal strategies to the opposing side.

However, the party had officially distanced itself from Marwat’s statement and implicitly supported Shaheen.

In November, the PTI had also denied a statement by Marwat, who had claimed that Imran would not contest the intra-party polls for the slot of party chairman and that he had picked someone to contest in his stead. The party had later announced that Imran had picked Barrister Gohar Khan to run in his stead.

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