PTI chief on re-conciliatory mission in Lahore

Islamabad: Ahead of polls the cracks have started surfacing within the party ranks of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf as diehard party loyalists who have been part and parcel of Imran Khan’s campaign everywhere including the 126-day sit-in Islamabad have been complaining of being ignored by the party chairman when the time had come to acknowledge their services for the party.

The disgruntled but diehard party workers of the party (PTI) have also expressed serious resentment over the award of tickets to ‘controversial persons and turncoats’ saying that the leadership had mercilessly ignored the party’s old-guards who had painstakingly worked for IK’s campaign of Naya-Pakistan. The cracks within the party have become even more visible when two senior most stalwarts Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Jenhangir Tareen traded barbs. The new episode of differences between two PTI stalwarts came to surface when party faces an uphill task of resolving the issue of awarding tickets for upcoming elections.

Although the PTI’s board had finalized the party tickets but one-third of tickets have been issued to those who have joined the party recently. The awarding of tickets new entrants had irked the PTI loyalists who have expressed strong reservations about the selection of candidates by ticket awarding board.

In a bid to pacify the disgruntled party workers the PTI chief Imran Khan who is accompanied with other senior leaders is on a reconciliatory mission in Lahore where they met different disgruntled leaders and explained them about the ground realities. IK met the disgruntled leaders including those from Lahore, Multan and other districts at his Zaman Park residence. After hearing grievances, Mr Khan explained them the vision and reasons behind parliamentary board’s decisions.

“Everybody cannot be given ticket. This is every political party’s issue. The PTI is trying to find a middle ground through negotiations in the best interest of the party,” the vice chairman told media persons here on Thursday.

Earlier, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the party was listening to views of dissatisfied aspirants and brushed aside the talk about serious grouping in the party. He said the workers from Multan, who wanted to have a meeting with the chairman, met Imran and discussed their grievance. He rejected the rumours of his differences with Jahangir Tareen, saying “political debate always continues within parties.”

Acknowledging that former PPP senior vice president Mian Manzoor Wattoo’s son and daughter were given PTI ticket, Mr Qureshi said Mr Wattoo would decide his vote after contesting the election as an independent candidate.

Meanwhile, PTI leader from Kamalia (NA-113, Toba Tek-Singh-III) Chaudhry Sarwar chided Imran Khan for awarding ticket to Riaz Fatyana and usurping the right of diehard workers. He regretted that even Haider Ali Khan was given ticket, who is facing a case of injuring over 100 PTI workers. He said Fatyana was also facing cases in National Accountability Bureau.

“The diehard workers, who remained part of Imran Khan’s campaign everywhere including the 126-day sit-in, have conveniently been ignored when the time had come to acknowledge their services for the party,” Mr Sarwar said.

He demanded that the tickets given to Riaz Fatyana and Haider Ali Khan be withdrawn.

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