Ticket for Sheikh Rashid’s nephew for NA-60 resented by party workers

PTI’s worker Ali Awan to contest by-polls from NA-53

Zubair Qureshi

As Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has started the process for the by-election (to be held on October 14) by issuing nomination papers to the candidates on Monday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has also awarded tickets for tow key National Assembly constituencies of the twin cities namely NA-53, Islamabad and NA-60 Rawalpindi.
However, whereas the party’s high command’s decision of awarding ticket to a loyal worker of the party and opposition leader in the Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad (MCI) Ali Awan in Islamabad is hailed, ticket for Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sh Rashid’s nephew Sheikh Rashid Shafiqu is being resented by the party workers of Rawalpindi.
While talking to Pakistan Observer a number of PTI workers, councilors and UC chairpersons of Islamabad welcomed the decision of the PTI Parliamentary Board saying Ali Awan is a young, energetic party loyalist who has been credited for organizing the party from UC to National Assembly level and his services have endeared him to the workers of the PTI in rural as well as urban Islamabad.
Ali Awan being a son of the soil understands the problems of the residents of Islamabad well and has been raising his voice on various forums through different mediums and it is because of his efforts most of the areas of Islamabad are now being provided adequate supply of water, streets and sectors are being cleaned on regularly basis and police patrolling have been improved and regularized.
Selection of Ali Awan for a seat from Islamabad that was won by no one else but Chairman of the PTI himself is indeed an acknowledgement of his hard work and dedication, they said.
On the contrary, workers of PTI have resented award of PTI ticket to an ‘outsider’ nephew of Sh Rashid Ahmed, Sheikh Rashid Shafiq for elections in NA-60, Rawalpindi. Sheikh Rashid was contesting elections from that seat but after a court convicted his rival Hanif Abbasi of PML-N, elections in that constituency were postponed.
Local leaders of the ruling party have termed it nepotism and the decision according to them is taken against merit. PTI Parliamentary Board has ignored workers who sacrificed for the party during the last 18 years, especially during the sit-ins in front of Parliament House, say the local leaders of the PTI.
According to a senior member of the PTI, the decision to award ticket to Sheikh Rashid’s nephew was against merit and aimed at promoting family politics which was against the party’s policy.
He said the decision was made without any due process. “Before awarding the ticket the party should have called applications from candidates and after this selection would be made on merit,” he said. “PTI Punjab North is misleading Chairman Imran Khan and has ignored old party workers and promoted Sheikh Rashid without merit. Mr Rashid also won his seat due to PTI otherwise he will not get 3,000 votes in Rawalpindi,” he further said. He said Arif Abbasi, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Asif, Musadaq Ghuman and Tipu Sultan were potential candidates but the party did not call applications and awarded the ticket.

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