LAHORE: For Imran Khan, the ticket-award exercise is the most painful task of his life. He not only described this exercise as “Azab” (torment) but also called it “the most difficult time of my life.”
“I will be thankful to Allah for coming out of the crisis of awarding party tickets,” he said as he briefly came out of his Zaman park residence late on Friday evening.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman is facing severe criticism over award of party tickets to turncoats, while completely ignoring the party’s ideological and loyal workers.
“We the workers have lifted this party to its present position but the fruits are being offered to turncoats, many of whom had recently joined the party,” Junaid Shahzad told Dawn.
A number of PTI workers from different Lahore constituencies as well as other districts continued protesting outside Zaman Park residence on Friday — the last day to finalise the party tickets before going ahead for intense election campaign for the general election.
Former MPA Seemal Kamran, who claims to be the wife of PML-Q government’s Punjab law minister Raja Basharat, also protested outside the PTI chairman’s residence. She said Basharat was a liar and demanded that the PTI chairman should withdraw the ticket from him.
Though the PTI chairman had claimed that there is a system in place to ensure that only the right candidates are given tickets, many aspirants say the most deserving candidates have been ignored in a bid to accommodate turncoats who defected the former ruling PML-N party.
“Many of the candidates who could have won respective seats have been ignored,” said a protester.
“Why we were kept on toes to keep a close contact with voters in our constituency as well as remain available at all party events whether sit-ins or public meetings during the past five years in particular – and spending huge money,” a ticket aspirant expressed his dismay while speaking to Dawn.
Mr Khan had spent a full day to ‘placate’ the disgruntled elements while explaining them the ground realities as well as reasons leading to parliamentary boards’ decisions at his Lahore residence on Thursday. Still many a protester believed that the chairman had only given (false) hope to many ticket aspirants that they would be accommodated in the by-elections and for other positions after forming the government.
The PTI chairman had arrived in Lahore on Wednesday night and was limited to indoors owing to round-the-clock protest outside his residence. As he came out of his residence late on Friday evening and met some protesters, he said in sheer frustration, “I will heave a sigh of relief, when Allah rescues me from this Azab (torment) of awarding party tickets to candidates.”
Meanwhile, the PTI chairman and central Punjab leaders postponed many events including public meetings owing to intermittent rain in Lahore.
Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2018