PTI withdraws from PM, Punjab CM race in sudden move

Saif says PTI-backed winners will sit in opposition in Centre, Punjab n Decision taken on Imran’s instructions n Mismanagement mars PTI’s press conference for international media n PTI-backed losers repeat victory claim n Announce protests against alleged vote-rigging.


ISLAMABAD  -  Only one day after nomi­nating its candidates for the slots of Prime Min­ister and Punjab Chief Minister, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Friday announced that the party decided to sit in the opposition in the Centre and Punjab on the instruction of party founder Imran Khan.

PTI leader Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif said this in his media inter­action after a delegation of the party including Asad Qasier met with the leadership of Qau­mi Watan Party (QWP) here in Islamabad.

“We have decided to sit in the opposi­tion despite the fact we might have formed the government in the Centre with 180 seats if … the results were not rigged,” he said, add­ing that Form 45 gave the evidence that PTI-backed candidates won. 

He said that they have talked to QWP on a one-point agenda of holding a protest on the issue of rigging. He said that they were contacting the political parties on the advice of Khan.

A day earlier, Asad, the head of PTI’s political committee, had claimed that incarcerated former Prime Minister Imran Khan had assigned him to engage with all those political par­ties protesting the election results. He had referred to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Awami National Party (ANP) and Qaumi Watan Par­ty. The party at the same time has clearly said that it would not talk with Pakistan Mus­lim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Move­ment-Pakistan (MQM-P) on any power-sharing formula.

Separately, the PTI political committee led by Asad also met with the leadership of Ja­maat-e-Islami.

JI leader Liaquat Baloch talking to reporters after the meeting said that his party’s contact with the PTI will con­tinue in future. “We will wel­come whichever party pro­tests against this rigged election.”

More than 80 losing candi­dates of PTI gathered at a lo­cal hotel in Islamabad on Fri­day where they held a press conference. 

This was the first gather­ing of PTI workers in the cap­ital after the initial arrest of their founding member Im­ran Khan on May 9th which led to nationwide protests that caused vandalism and mob attacks on military in­stallments. Mr. Khan was re­leased on May 11th after apex court intervention and was confined to his Lahore resi­dence. He was rearrested on August 5th and has been in­carcerated since.

Law enforcement agencies held massive crackdowns on PTI workers and more than 10,000 workers were arrested post-May 9th incidents. Elec­tion ticket holders and work­ers were not even allowed to hold public rallies for election campaigns before the Febru­ary 8th General Elections and the Party Symbol “Bat” was also taken away from PTI after a Supreme Court ruling. 

The whole scenario changed after voters came out in num­bers for PTI and it emerged as the biggest party in Paki­stan. PTI has secured more than 90 National Assembly seats, moreover, PTI claims that they are deprived of more than 80 seats which could’ve given them a simple majori­ty to make the government in center. 

Friday’s press conference which was attended by a large number of international and national journalists with the presence of more than 80 can­didates is been considered an ice-breaker between the establishment and PTI. PTI showed Form 45 of more than 45 National Assembly seats which are given on each poll­ing station after polling. Ac­cording to PTI, the form 47s which are provisional results issued by the Presiding Offi­cer that have a total count of all polling stations has been rigged. 

70-year-old Rehana Dar mother of Usman Dar a staunch PTI worker lost elec­tions to Khawaja Asif, former Federal Minister of Defense and rival party PML-N lead­er has accused him of rigging the elections with the help of state machinery. She called herself the daughter of Sialkot and said she had been cheated by Khawaja Asif. 

Another PTI candidate and a seasoned lawyer Salman Akram Raja said that he was winning the elections with more than 100,000 lead but then he was taken out by the police from the RO office and the next morning he found out that he had lost the elections. There were candidates from Islamabad and different parts of Punjab who accused the Election Commission of Paki­stan of changing the election results. 

The press conference also brought in the PTI support­ers and pro-PTI YouTubers in huge numbers which made it difficult for the internation­al and national media to cov­er the event. 

Asim Ali Rana, reporting for Voice of American (VOA) Urdu service, while talking to The Nation said, “PTI invited in­ternational journalists to cov­er this event but it seems more like a worker convention of PTI. There was a lack of dis­cipline at the event. The par­ty leaders were not even coop­erating with each other on the stage like for instance, a can­didate grabbed a mic from the other candidate don’t make good optics and definitely did not serve the cause.”

It was also observed that Rauf Hassan central spokes­person of PTI left the stage when Sher Afzal Marwat, re­cently elected MNA and so­cial media sensation for PTI supporter appeared on stage and took the mic. Rauf Hassan eventually left the press con­ference and didn’t return. 

“We’ve never had this kind of mismanagement at these events, today is an exception,” a PTI supporter said while talking to The Nation. Anoth­er PTI leader on condition of anonymity told The Nation that it was the first event af­ter the unannounced ban on us and everyone wanted to be part of this event. We are look­ing at this event as a light after a long dark tunnel.

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