MUZAFFARGARH: Candidates from Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and PML-N are under spotlight for allegedly violating party discipline by opposing their own party candidates and supporting independent contenders here in the district.

One such instance involves PTI candidate for NA-175 Jamshed Dasti who is openly flouting party policies by fielding his wife, Nazia Jamshed, in NA-176, where PTI’s designated candidate is Nawabzada Ahmad Khan.

In a video statement, Nawabzada accused Dasti of violating party policies, expressing concern among voters as Dasti supports his wife’s candidacy against the official PTI candidate.

He claimed that Dasti’s actions were inadvertently benefiting PPP and PMLN candidates by dividing PTI votes. Nawabzada is underground and has carried out his electioneering through social media.

In NA-176, brothers Nawabzada Mansoor Ahmad Khan and Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmad are also in contention. Nawabzada Iftikhar is running on a PPP ticket, while Nawabzada Mansoor, a former PTI minister who left the party after May 9, is contesting as an independent candidate. The PML-N has nominated Syed Basit Sultan Bukhari as its candidate for this constituency.

PML-N’s Bukhari has accused PML-N candidate for PP-271 Aown Hameed Dogar, of supporting PPP and PTI candidates, warning him to cease opposition or face consequences.

In NA-175, PTI’s Jamshed Dasti, PML-N’s Hammad Nawaz Tipu, and PPP’s Mehr Irshad Ahmad Sial are competing. In this constituency, PML-N candidate Tipu is allegedly supporting independent candidate Nasir Taraggar instead of PML-N’s official ticket holder Ajmal Chandia in PP-268. Mr Ajmal, who was earlier Dasti’s ally, joined the party ahead of the election, despite opposition by Mr Tippu.

Dawn has learned that the primary contenders in NA-175 are PPP’s Sial and PML-N’s Tipu, while Mr Dasti, who remained underground after the May 9 incident, has hit the field just a week ago after securing bail from the Lahore High Court, Multan bench. This constituency consists of the Muzaffargarh city area, and the last time, the PPP candidate won the seat.

This time, PPP and PML-N candidates are facing discontent from the voters due to perceived neglect in the last 16 months of the coalition rule. Dasti’s position also weakened when he made dramatic claims on social media about raids in his house and alleged mistreatment of his wife by law-enforcement agency officials. Despite being in hiding since May 9, wanted by the police, people are skeptical of his claims.

PETITION: TheMultan High Court, Multan Bench, addressed a petition filed by Jamshed Dasti on Wedensday regarding alleged police harassment during a late night raid weeks ago.

Dasti accused the police of targeting him and his supporters.

The Lahore High Court summoned the Dera Ghazi Khan regional police officer, who was represented by the headquarters DSP, who detailed two additional cases against Dasti, including electricity theft. The court adjourned the hearing until Thursday.

Dasti claims continued harassment, stating it hampers his election campaign, leading him to seek relief from the court.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2024

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