BAHAWALPUR: A day after mysterious disappearance, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) nominee from NA-155 (Lodhran-2) Iffat Tahira Soomro announced she is withdrawing from the electoral contest in favour of Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP) patron-in-chief Jahangir Khan Tareen. After her withdrawal, the PTI allotted ticket to Rao Muhammad Qasim with electoral sybmol of hand pump.

Ms Sumroo, who is a lawyer, made the announcement in a video statement on social media and also held a meeting with Mr Tareen at his residence in Lodhran.

In the video, Ms Soomro says she is withdrawing in favour of Mr Tareen, a former PTI leader, who was considered close to ex-premier Imran Khan. She says she had started her political journey by contesting against PML-N candidate Siddique Baloch.

She also says that Mr Baloch’s group is spreading “false” reports about her kidnapping, saying no such incident happened and asked the public to stand with her against the PML-N candidate and support Mr Tareen as she was also supporting him.

There were reports that Ms Soomro was kidnapped or confined in her house in Lodhran. However, the police and the election commission denied any such incident.

Bahadur Khan, PRO to Lodhran district police officer, told Dawn by phone that he was unaware of Ms Soomro’s whereabouts and that she might be in her constituency running her election campaign.

Meanwhile, in another video, her brother Hafiz Hateem rejected the “reports” of his sister’s kidnap, alleging Mr Baloch’s group was behind this propaganda. He said the purpose of their politics was to defeat Mr Baloch.

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2024

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