ISLAMABAD: On the call of founding chairman Imran Khan, ticket holders and workers of Pakis­tan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) will hold their first countrywide power show, after May 9, on Sunday (today).

“We have given clear direction to ticket holders to come out at 2pm and hold rallies and public meetings in their constituencies. They will address the voters and will give a message that PTI will not allow anyone to take its space,” party’s Central Information Secretary Raoof Hasan said while talking to Dawn.

On Sunday, the party would also launch its 158-page manifesto covering all major issues of Pakistan, party leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi told a virtual convention of candidates. Earlier this week, founding chairman Imran Khan had directed all the ticket holders to come out in the streets and roads on Sunday (today) across the country. He warned that the tickets of those, who will not hold rallies, will be cancelled.

Later, former prime minister’s sister also spoke to media persons and conveyed the message to party workers and ticket holders through media.

The announcement triggered panic among a number of ticket holders as they were already hiding at different places to avoid their arrest. They fear that a number of them will be arrested on Sunday (today).

However, Mr Hasan said that a message had been conveyed to all the leadership to hold rallies across the country without fear of arrest.

“They might be arrested but we believe that it will not affect their election campaign. In fact, they may get more votes [of sympathy] as voters will be observing all what is happening with the PTI. We have also released a video message in that regard,” he said.

Replying to a question, Mr Hasan agreed that although Section 144 was not imposed since other parties were holding public meetings, workers of PTI might be arrested.

On May 9, 2023, after the arrest of Mr Khan from the Islamabad High Court, PTI workers held protests across the country. The protest, however, turned into riots with some mobs found attacking military installations.

Virtual convention

On Saturday, PTI ticket holders held a virtual convention and suggested the masses to cast their votes in their favour.

Throughout the convention, efforts were made to reach the masses that how they could learn about the symbol and candidate supported by the PTI in their constituency after the party had been deprived of its symbol ‘bat’ and all the ticket holders have been contesting election as independent candidates.

Convention was moderated by PTI social media head Jibran Ilyas and Ali Malik. At around 8:30pm, as many as 2,400 persons were watching the convention at PTI’s official channel on YouTube. At 9pm, their number rose to 3,400 while it surpassed 4,000 at 10:30pm.

Hammad Azhar, whose symbol is wicket, said that he joined PTI when there was hardly any other prominent figure in the party. He claimed the PTI dealt smartly with a number of issues and challenges during its tenure.

Party’s candidate Ayaz Amir said PTI workers and supporters were ‘devoted’. However, he alleged that all possible efforts were being made to create hurdles for them. “Police is very active in Chakwal but workers have been holding rallies. A number of people were already expecting that the bat symbol will not be given to PTI so they adjusted with it in a few days. I don’t think that the PTI will face loss because it has been deprived of its symbol,” he said.

Mr Amir urged the people to come out from their homes on Feb 8 and cast votes. He said his election symbol was ‘Baajaa’.

Momina Basit, representative from PK-33 (Hazara), said people were coming out of their houses and were actively participating in the election campaign.

Malik Zaheer Abbas Khokhar from NA-127 (Lahore) said that the whole Pakistan was keeping an eye on his constituency because Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Attaullah Tarar were contesting against him. He said his election symbol was ‘Gharyal’.

Mr Khan’s message was also run during the convention in which he said that Pakistan was dream of Allama Iqbal. Although it seemed to be an old message/video but moderator claimed that the message was recorded earlier but was not telecasted.

Mr Khan said the dream was to make a state like ‘Riyasat-i-Madina’, there should be justice in the country. He said that if justice and merit would be ensured no one will have to go out of the country to find jobs.

Mehar Bano Qureshi, daughter of former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, spoke from a public meeting in Multan and chanted slogans in favour of PTI. She said the social media team was PTI’s backbone and hoped that symbols of candidates would reach every house because of the social media. She alleged that supporters were being pressurised.

Shaukat Basra said it was the time to prove that workers and supporters of PTI support the 804 prisoners. He claimed he would stand by Mr Khan after winning the election.

Sahibzada Hamid Raza, from Sunni Ittehad Council, said that he and his party would continue to support the PTI and Imran Khan.

Another candidate Irfan Mehboob Jilani said it was responsibility of every person to cast their votes early in the morning so that their vote would not be casted by fake individuals.

Zartaj Gul Wazir, from NA-185 Dera Ghazi Khan, said that everyone should come out of their houses on Feb 8 and cast vote. She said her symbol was ‘bench’. She alleged that she was not being allowed to go to D.G. Khan, where all other political parties have forged unity against her. She claimed that she would attempt to go there again in a few days.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2024


To find your constituency and location of your polling booth, SMS your NIC number (no spaces) to 8300. Once you know your constituency, visit the ECP website here for candidates.

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