By-elections: PTI workers in Nowshera, Swabi haven’t given up hope

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PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidates for provincial assembly seats vacated by top party leaders in Nowshera and Swabi districts haven’t given up the hope of getting the party ticket for contesting the forthcoming by-election even though they have to compete with the influential Pervez Khattak and Asad Qaiser families for the ticket.

Zahoor Kakakhel, who claimed he joined the PTI in 1999, told The News that he remained hopeful even though former chief minister Pervez Khattak’s younger brother Liaqat Khattak was claiming that he has already got the party ticket to contest from PK-64 Nowshera seat. “Our party head Prime Minister Imran Khan will decide the award of ticket and I am sure he will do justice. I belong to this constituency and am aware that the voters no longer like this family as it wants to control everything and grab every position. I am surprised how he won the recent election,” he argued.

According to Zahoor Kakakhel, he had also fallen from the stage along with Imran Khan during the 2013 election campaign. “I fractured my back and hand and injured my head. I was on bed for four and a half months. All these years I have been taking part in every PTI activity and protest,” he explained while trying to explain that he deserved the ticket.

He recalled that he was the first to hoist the PTI flag on his house in Ziarat Kaka Sahib village in Nowshera district almost 20 years ago and villagers laughed at him by telling him that this party had no future.

When told that Pervez Khattak’s supporters argue that only his family members are capable of winning election from the two assembly seats vacated by him, Zahoor Kakakhel termed it mere gossip as people vote for Imran Khan and nobody else.

Another aspirant for PTI ticket, Sajid Mashwani, said he had applied for contesting by-election for PK-61 Nowshera even though Pervez Khattak had fielded his son Ibrahim Khattak from the constituency and also nominated his other son Ismail Khattak and nephew Ibrar Khattak as the covering candidates. He said he was an old PTI worker and wanted the party leadership to look beyond one family and give the ticket to a committed party activist. He also maintained that anyone given PTI ticket can win the by-election as the electorate vote for Imran Khan and PTI and not for any particular family. “The voters would vote for a pole, tree or plant associated with Imran Khan,” he remarked.

In Swabi, Abdul Sattar has applied for the PTI ticket for the PK-44 by-election on the provincial assembly seat vacated by Asad Qaiser, who had also won and kept the National Assembly seat. Asad Qaiser is now the National Assembly Speaker and is keen to field his brother Aqibullah in the by-election. Two other PTI aspirants for the ticket are Shah Wali and Akhtar Ali.

“I joined the PTI in 1997 and served as the general secretary of the party in Swabi. I am now the senior vice-president of PTI Swabi unit and am deserving of the ticket in view of my seniority and services for the party,” Abdul Sattar argued. He added that he was recognized among those PTI activists who took more people to Islamabad for the ‘dharna’ and actively participated in protest campaigns.

Arguing that he was seeking PTI ticket on merit, he said it was time the party workers services and sacrifices were recognized and they were given ticket to contest the polls. “Speaker Asad Qaiser sahib’s brother would be recognized and assisted in any government office even if he isn’t an MPA. If a party worker like me is given the PTI ticket, I too will be able to serve the people,” he pointed out

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