The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said Saturday that its splinter group — Tehreek-e-Insaf Nazriati — had backtracked from an agreement between the two sides, allowing the candidates of the former to contest polls under the latter’s symbol.
The PTI, with uncertainty surrounding its symbol and a case pending before the Supreme Court, asked its candidates to submit their nomination papers under the name of another party — PTI-N.
However, PTI-N Chairman Akhtar Iqbal Dar later claimed that the PTI candidates submitted “fake” nomination papers before the returning officers (ROs).
In conversation with Geo News, PTI leader Barrister Ali Zafar confirmed that his party had entered an agreement with the PTI-N, noting that they struck the deal in Islamabad, with sources saying it took place on December 30.
“It is unfortunate that the Tehreek-e-Insaf Nazriati backtracked from its commitment. Now, we are pinning our hopes on the Supreme Court,” Zafar said.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), following the PTI’s move, took notice of “deceiving attempts” by some candidates through their applications for general elections — scheduled for February 8.
It clarified that the electoral symbol of another political party would not be allotted to candidates whose affidavits contradict their original party affiliation.
While speaking on Geo News’ programme “Naya Pakistan”, PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan revealed that the PTI-N chairman had formally signed an agreement with his political party for forthcoming elections.
“Dar had signed the party tickets (issued to candidates) while sitting in our office with the PTI chairman two weeks ago.”
The spokesperson claimed that the PTI-N chief was demanding more seats but then, he agreed on adjusting only four seats in Sheikhupura.
He continued that Dar could have been facing pressure like other politicians who had been “forced” to conduct press conferences against the Imran-led party.
He admitted that PTI candidates have been directed to take an alternative option to contest polls under compulsion, with less time to submit tickets before the expiry of the deadline and the pending verdict of the Supreme Court.
As per the details available with Geo News, the agreement states that both parties would adjust seats on seven constituencies. It mentioned that Akhtar would get a Senate seat.
A candidate of the PTI-N, according to the agreement, would get a ticket for the reserved seat in the provincial assembly. The same number would be applicable to the National Assembly and the Senate as well. It mentioned that PTI candidates would contest polls on the ‘batsman’s’ logo.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, the politico said he was surprised to see PTI candidates with his political party’s tickets appearing before the returning officers (ROs) as he did not allocate them.
He announced that a verified list of PTI-N candidates will be provided to the ROs to avoid confusion. Dar clarified that his party allotted the same tickets to its candidates that had been issued in the previous 2018 general polls.
“PTI-N has its own manifesto and programme, as well as a separate electoral symbol depicting ‘batsman’. A candidate can neither use platform of another political party during elections nor had my party signed an agreement with any party.”
Slamming the embattled PTI, Dar said that over the course of years, he felt that transparency and honesty did not exist in the Imran-led party which led to distancing himself from the previous party.
“It is the election commission’s core responsibility to trace fraudulent schemes of these candidates."