Imran Khan distances himself from PTI's ticket distribution for general elections

PTI workers pile up complaints against “unfair” distribution of tickets during trial of Toshakhana reference

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Former prime minister Imran Khan arrives at an Islamabad court for a hearing in this file photo. —AFP
Former prime minister Imran Khan arrives at an Islamabad court for a hearing in this file photo. —AFP
  • Imran says was not allowed to consult about party tickets.
  • Politco asks how can he verbally decide about 850 tickets.
  • “Will fight till the last ball,” reiterates jailed PTI founder.  

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Saturday revealed that he was unaware of the distribution of the party tickets for the national and provincial assembly constituencies in connection with the February 8 general elections.

The PTI founder made the remarks during his interaction with party workers in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail after the hearing of the Toshakhana case, for which he has been incarcerated.

Internal rifts emerged within the ranks of beleaguered PTI after the former ruling party reportedly set aside merit and awarded tickets to ex-lawmakers and influential personalities.

PTI workers had earlier today, inside the jail premises, registered their complaints with the party's founder against the “unfair” distribution of tickets.

Dozens of PTI Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chapter leaders and supporters had earlier this month also staged a protest against the "unfair" distribution of party tickets without consideration for merit. They were protesting against what they called “the sale of party tickets” in KP.

Responding to a question about the “unfair” distribution of party tickets, the PTI founder told his supporters: “I don't know who got the ticket and who didn't.”

“I was not allowed to consult about the distribution of party tickets.” The PTI founder asked his supporters how could he verbally decide about 850 tickets.

Meanwhile, Sher Afzal Khan Marwat, one of the members of Imran's legal team, said that he had conveyed workers’ concerns over the controversial allotment of the tickets to the PTI founder.

Taking to his X handle, Marwat said that Imran had announced the withdrawal of such disputed tickets.

As per a report in The News, ticket allocations for the upcoming general elections caused an uproar within the PTI, particularly in KP where a group of influential party leaders, some of whom were vying for the position of chief minister, have been denied provincial seats and allocated National Assembly (NA) tickets.

The PTI sources told the daily that all the influential contenders for the slot of KP chief ministership have been allocated NA tickets to pave the way for Ali Amin Gandapur as possible chief minister of KP if the party wins the elections.

One of the party leaders, who is closely watching this infighting within the PTI, confided to The News that this is a clash between the PTI’s establishment and an overambitious lot.

According to one of the party leaders, who has also been allocated a NA ticket in KP, there are also allegations about irregularities in ticket allocations in almost a dozen cases.

The PTI sources said that the likes of Asad Qasier, Atif Khan, Shah Farman, Shahram Tarakai, Junaid Khan, and Sheheryar Khan Afridi were not being allotted KP Assembly tickets and were asked by the party to contest for the NA only. It is not confirmed whether any of them finally got the KP Assembly ticket.

“These leaders are protesting that despite their seniority in the party, they have not been consulted in the ticket allocation exercise. They also conveyed a message to the founder chairman of PTI Imran Khan to express their no-confidence in the ticket allocation exercise,” the report read.

A day earlier, the former ruling party announced fielding candidates on all 266 National Assembly seats across Pakistan. However, several constituencies had been marked ‘pending’, mainly due to a difference of opinion in naming candidates.

Interestingly, the PTI has fielded its candidates against its erstwhile close ally Sheikh Rashid Ahmad and his nephew Sheikh Rashid Shafiq, as the two sides reportedly developed differences over last year’s May 9 mayhem.