ISLAMABAD: Awarding Senate ticketto Mirza Mohammad Afridi has triggered criticismwithin the ranks of PTI, but senior leaders say it was the party decision.

Mr Afridi on the other hand alleged that some personalities were doing propaganda against him.

Mr Afridi was elected as an Independent sin March 2018 on general seats and later joined PTI. He also became deputy chairman Senate and remained associated with PTI. However, after May 9 he criticised the riots by the PTI workers.

In first week of March, PTI nominated candidates for Senate seats and from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Murad Saeed, Faisal Javed Khan, Mirza Mohammad Afridi, Irfan Saleem andKhurram Zeeshan were announced for general seats. Similarly in Punjab, Hamid Khan and Zulfi Bukhari were nominated as candidates of the party for the general seats.

However, nomination of Mr Afridi triggered a debate on social media that how he managed to appear in the list of the candidates and who was his supporter. Social media users also alleged that Mr Afridi had announced to quit the party.

Mirza Mohammad Afridi, while talking to Dawn, said: “In 2018, I was elected as an independent Senator and later supported PTI. It is correct that I criticised the May 9 incidents but what I said, Imran Khan also used the same wordings.

I said that no one should attack on military installations and Imran Khan also said that those who attacked military installations should be punished. I never quit the party,” he claimed.

“Fact is that there are four members of National Assembly (MNAs), led by a former MNA from erstwhile Fata , who are doing propaganda against me. I am very much part of PTI and will remain in the party,” Mr Afridi said.

When contacted, Imran Khan’s spokesperson Raoof Hasan said that he could only say that it was the decision of the party to award the ticket to Mr Afridi.

All major political parties have been facing criticism over nominating “outsiders” as candidates for the Senate seats.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has been emerged as the largest political party in the National Assembly but it has awarded tickets to a number of “outsiders” including former Caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar, former Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Raza Naqvi and others.

Similarly, Pakistan People’s Party has ignored Mian Raza Rabbani, Maula Bux Chandio and others. Party has been supporting outsiders such as Faisal Vawda to get them elected as senators.

PTI slams acquittal of Nawaz’s sons in graft cases

Meanwhile, PTI has criticised the acquittal of Nawaz Sharif’s sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz in the corruption references, saying that the suspension of sentences of the proclaimed offenders one after another would not only tarnish reputation of the judicial system but it would also shake the confidence of the nation in the justice system.

PTI spokesperson alleged that the justice system of the country has been mortgaged in the hands of Sharifs and Zardaris to facilitate their children.

Restoration of ‘X’

In another development, PTI Spokesperson came down hard on the Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi for his statement pertaining to the suspension of social media platform ‘X’, demanding an immediate restoration of the social media platform.

He urged instant removal of the ban on the social media platform ‘X’ and said that it was the old habit to use traditional and social media for their propaganda under the guise of media legislations.

He said that the government of form-47s and its ministers’ non-serious statements regarding the closure of social media platform ‘X’ were making mockery of the so-called democratic system.

He recalled that even the international human rights organisations were also raising voices against suspension of social media platforms for the last 32 days by the rulers.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2024

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